inspiration

All posts tagged inspiration

Ch-ch-ch-ch-CHANGES!

Published July 26, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2883New life, new hair! 

Last week I changed my hair. I haven’t been a redhead in a long time so when my new hairstylist/colorist encouraged me to go red, I went with it. The bottom half was done in foils and the top was a glaze, giving an ombre look (and when the glaze fades, as glazes do, my natural brown will look cool with the lighter shade of red, that’s like a strawberry blonde on the bottom). Note, this photo does nothing for the color — in real life it just pops!

Anyway, why the dramatic change in my hair? Because I had a dramatic change in my life!

It happened about a month ago, but haven’t told many yet. After working for myself for nine years, I took a full time job in the editorial department of a magazine!

For nine years I’ve worked as the sole proprietor of my business, Pear Tree Enterprises: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

When I first started Pear Tree, I had just left an editorial job I worked at for seven years and was trying to find myself. In the past nine years, being my own boss: I’ve helped at least 20 people write their books for publication; I’ve written my own two books (with a third coming out later this year, published by GenZ); I’ve become a public speaker, speaking on various topics at libraries throughout New Jersey, including my Learn & Listen series, which made the front page of The Caldwell News (http://www.mypaperonline.com/library-patrons-learn-and-listen-about-famous-musicians.html); I’ve also put an entire magazine together, learning to use a design program.

During this time, I’ve been interviewed on blog talk radio shows across the United States; have been on well known NJ radio shows; and was featured on a Long Island cable show after starting a non-profit animal rights organization called R.O.A.R. (Respect Our Animals’ Rights) (https://respectouranimalsrights.wordpress.com/).

I’ve also done countless book signings and have met so many famous people I’ve highly admired.

So, with all this success, why would I ditch it all to go back to the so-called rat race?

Three words — I was exhausted.

Running your own show is hard. Trying to find the right help is harder. My husband put it best when he said that I never made the right connections to keep Pear Tree going on a full time basis. I’ve interviewed countless people to be my assistant, and I wasn’t “feeling it” for anyone.

Once I made the decision to re-enter the workforce, I decided to do it wisely. I took my time. I approached job hunting with the same seriousness as I did while looking for a husband. I found my soulmate in 2005 and have been happy together ever since. I was 42 at the time — a true late bloomer. I didn’t marry the first guy who asked me.

So, while seeking a job, I kept an eye out for all the signs of what could be right for me. I don’t even know how long I was actively looking because I didn’t make a job out of seeking a job. When I saw something desirable, I applied.

Then about a month ago, I was hired for TWO jobs! It was a tough decision because both were interesting and both were editorial related. Then I made the RIGHT CHOICE — and almost two months later, I am ecstatic! Not only do I have a position I deserve, with great team players, I can still work Pear Tree as a side gig. I am still giving lectures and helping people write books; as well as writing my own; and freelancing for a magazine I love and believe in. And it’s not like I’m “overworked” either. I simply do freelance work when I feel like it — an hour here, an hour there and the pay adds up. And it’s a damn good feeling to be able to pick and choose what you want to do in life — and the people you want to do it with!

Like being with the right mate, a marriage feels extremely free and liberating. That’s how it is when you have the right job. Work just never feels like work! It’s a time for learning. And I’m so fortunate to be working in a creative environment, using my talents. But best of all, I now have help. Working in a company means you’ll always have someone to fall back on; unlike running the whole show myself. That said, words just can’t express how happy I am!

Unfortunately I had to let some freelance things go like the low-paying blogging jobs; and doing lectures during the week, as I’m now limited to weekends. But to move ahead, you always have to leave some things behind. But it’s worth it. Everything fell into place in such a beautiful way. And while I was always pleased with my life and at times couldn’t imagine it getting any better — it always gets even better!

So, now, I’m officially part of the “rat race” — but it’s a cute rat race! Kinda like a pet rat race.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of three books, including “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon. If you like positive, fun, silly books that don’t go in a downward spiral, this one’s for you: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Her third book “The Gypsy Smiled” will be published by GenZ later this year.

Make Way for Happiness!

Published July 8, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2842Hello Happiness

This is why I’m more a believer in pronoia than karma …

First, I must explain “pronoia” since everyone knows what karma is. According to Wikipedia, here is the definition: “Pronoia is a neologism that is defined as the opposite state of mind to paranoia: having the sense that there is a conspiracy that exists to help the person. It is also used to describe a philosophy that the world is set up to secretly benefit people.”

Blessings in disguise are necessary to one’s evolution. It really sucks to be going through a bad time, but that’s what moves you to a better time. A quick example would be my career. Thanks to always trying to escape nasty people and office gossip, I’ve advanced myself to places I’ve always dreamed of. Starting out as a shipping clerk right after high school, I’ve learned all aspects of the working world — A/R, A/P, credit/collections — then went on to more creative venues, from typing, to proofreading, copy editing, writing features, learning design programs, and authoring three books. (As well as helping other people write their books). I am now superwoman. The more I learn, the higher my rates become; and the more I can pick and choose what work I want; and the more concerts I can go to, the more clothes I can buy, and the more vacations I can take. Go me.

Had I been someone who thrived on negativity, I would have stayed put. Fortunately bettering myself, away from back stabbers, always meant advancing in my career. Thank you Universe.

But pronoia doesn’t just work in career, it works in just about anything. A prime example happened a few weeks ago. I got hooked on a particular eatery and was spending much time (and money) there. However, I realized, being a health fanatic, the options were limited once I got bored with the dish I enjoyed most.

I also had to coach them to let them know there were certain items they put in their foods that I didn’t consider healthy, such as grains; almond or coconut milk from a brand that uses cane sugar; and bananas, which are extremely high carbs.

One day there was a new counter girl, having a hard time with my order. I was extremely patient, with a smile on my face. Fifteen minutes later, the grand finale was that she put granola on top of my finished product. (I do not like granola at all!)

I told her I was allergic, which gets you more compassion than just saying you do not like something — sometimes. But not this time. The owner was very snippy with me and said, “You’re allergic to nuts?!” as if I bothered her.

Right then and there I made up my mind that I would never step foot in that place again. I never really felt comfortable there to begin with. It was just an all around bad vibe as they tended to cater to people they knew personally, making it clique-ish. Plus, that day I saw fruit flies on their samples. It was no longer an inviting place to eat.

Is this the universe speaking? You bet! Read on …

I spent 45 minutes on the internet looking for another healthy place to eat in the area. Well, I found one that was much healthier — all raw vegan foods with no processed sugar, no grains, and many items minus bananas! I’ve been going every day since. The service is better. The owner even came out to shake my hand for writing a good review about them. That’s the way to go!

But wait, there’s more!

You get “points” for your purchases! Now, not only is this place, healthier and friendlier than the first place, but less expensive. And with the points, I’ve already had two free healthy desserts (made from natural, organic fresh fruit and cacao).

Then the real reward is that going to this place takes me through the back roads, avoiding all traffic. So instead of just looking at cars, I can see deer (and fawn!) romping, rabbits, swans, etc. It’s an all around prettier trip.

If you pay attention to pronoia, you will see how it happens often. Bad things almost always push you in a better direction. If you feel uncomfortable in your place of worship,  job, or the person you are with, it’s definitely the universe (or God!) telling you that you belong somewhere else, or with someone else.

While “pronoia” is the official term, I like to call these things The Parable of Sonny & Cher. As the story goes, Sonny and Cher were so down on their luck, they had to sell all the furniture in their home to make ends meet. This is when Sonny Bono wrote their hit “I Got You Babe.”

Did you ever lose it all, then get your dream job? Or win the lottery?

Did someone you love deeply die recently? If so, watch how many great things start happening to you almost immediately afterwards. Whether it’s the universe repaying you for your loss; or your loved one, now in heaven, taking care of you from above — it’s a given that tragedy leads to precious gifts.

Did you ever have a horrible day, followed by a fantastic evening? That is also pronoia at work. Bad things motivate you to grab the good. It’s a survival mechanism.

How has pronoia worked for YOU? Feel free to share your stories; I’d love to hear them!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of three books, including “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon. If you like positive, fun, silly books that don’t go in a downward spiral, this one’s for you: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Her third book “The Gypsy Smiled” will be published by GenZ later this year.

 

 

 

 

Rocking Old Gracefully

Published June 24, 2017 by Maryanne

sam_1712Rock Wife, night on the town

SAM_2602What a rock wife really looks like! 

A few weeks ago I went to get my haircut at a different salon and I heard something I never ever heard before … The hairstylist said she couldn’t picture me at a rock club; noting that I was quiet and dressed conservatively that day.

For a person who never gave a shit about hair, nails, or styles; has tattoos; and wears heavy eyeliner — all the time — this was an absurd thing to hear. (Especially since on that particular day I was bra-less).

But, after giving it much thought, yeah, I guess I do look conservative in a day and age where everything goes. From as far back as 15, I dressed “different.” But in the late 1970s, a ton of make-up, messy hair, leather jacket, and lots of new wave and punk buttons was considered radical. I got bullied for how I looked back then. Now, no one would bat an eye. Ahead of my time? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fast forward a few years … I’ll never forget when I started dressing conservative, or what they’d call today “business casual.” I was in my late teens and a male friend I had a crush on said he liked the “secretary look.” I cleaned up my act of leather, ripped jeans, combat boots, and bleached blonde hair and started buying more fashionable clothing. But that got old and for the next 30 years I flip flopped back and forth between edgy and radical to simply pretty — or as the old friend would say, the secretary look.

The thing is, I was never one to pigeon-hole myself into just one look like I did as a teenager. The first time I left my punk look behind, I’d go back again and again and again, but I grew tired of people staring and calling me “punk” 24/7. In time, I liked having a choice. I’d punk out — or rock out — at a club, but then be more subtle at other times. (Nevertheless, I still stood out for the very reasons mentioned in the second paragraph).

Call me a sell-out, a cop-out, or a poser, but I know what is in my heart. I can love music without advertising it. I have one small tattoo, on my wrist, of a 45-rpm spindle, which is my “music charm” and that says it all. I don’t need to dye my hair some pastel color, continue shopping at Trash and Vaudeville, or pierce my face to make a statement. Anyone who knows me, knows I am the biggest music freak ever.

The thing is, I love to shop anywhere and everywhere. I’ll try all kinds of styles. And like my eclectic taste in music, I feel I’m equally as diverse in dress. That’s the greatest thing about being a woman — being able to experiment with clothes, hairstyles, and make-up.

I think it’s essential to really know what looks good on you as you age. I take all those “Over 50 dos and don’ts” with a grain of salt and just work the looks as I go along. There are some things I highly doubt I’d ever wear again; others I can still get away with; and then others I’m not quite there yet (so I’ll just say “no” to the jogging suits, for now!)

If this makes me the kind of person one couldn’t picture at a rock club, I am fine with that. I prefer outdoor oldies concerts, these days, anyway.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

She’s also the author of the steamy 1980s romance, “Love Cats” also available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

 

 

The Voice Semi-Finalist to Perform Benefit at MPAC

Published May 23, 2017 by Maryanne

brenden fletcherBrendan Fletcher

[Note: This article was originally published in the Randolph News, May 23, 2017]

The Voice Semi-Finalist to Perform Benefit at MPAC

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Brendan Fletcher, a semi-finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” last year, will be performing at Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) on Monday, June 12. All proceeds will support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

It wasn’t too long ago that Fletcher was performing at a small bar across the street from MPAC. He’d pass the theatre, look up at the marquee and wonder if he’d ever play “a place like that.” One year later, it’s a dream come true for singer, guitarist, songwriter, Fletcher, who is now touring all over the United States, and in other countries.

Fletcher grew up in Randolph and is now living in Ridgewood, Queens. While his parents weren’t musicians, they were no strangers to good music. Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, The Eagles, and Simon & Garfunkel were always played on the home stereo system.

But the main reason Fletcher got into music was because of his older brother Steve, who performed in high school bands. Steve gave Fletcher the opportunity to play rhythm guitar in the band. Each year the brothers were in the high school’s Battle of the Bands. “It [performing] was a consistent in my life,” said Fletcher.

When Fletcher went off to college at Boston University, he no longer had his brother as his support system. “I had to do it on my own,” he said. And for the first time, he found his voice. With Steve, he played heavier music like hard rock and punk. Once that got out of his system, he went on the singer/songwriter kick.

At college he studied film and television, but when he came back to Randolph, he’d play gigs at local venues doing cover songs. When Fletcher got an internship in New York at a writing room, writing scripts, it wasn’t his true passion – music was.

“The internship wasn’t what I expected,” said Fletcher, who realized he had to do something if he didn’t want to do film. That’s when he decided to pursue music seriously.

In Philadelphia auditions were being held for “The Voice” – a television show where the strongest vocalists from across the country compete with one another for a chance to win a recording contract.

While Fletcher stood in line with thousands of other hopefuls, he heard everyone around him practicing. He said, “I think I’m okay, but I heard people in front of me singing Etta James better than Etta James.”

After waiting five hours, he was chosen for an audition with 10 other people. Each person got to sing one minute of a song. Fletcher sang “Jolene” by Ray LaMontagne.

He was asked to sing another song, then got called back for another audition and got the break most musicians can only fantasize about. He becam one of the 11th season semi-finalists.

Since then Fletcher’s rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” hit No. 2 on the iTunes overall chart; and his cover of “Whipping Post” by The Allman Brothers hit No. 1 on the iTunes rock chart.

“It feels amazing,” said Fletcher, adding, “If it wasn’t for my family, I couldn’t have done it. I’m very blessed to have them.”

Still inspired by the same music he listened to growing up, Fletcher said, “Bob Dylan and Neil Young write such beautiful, meaningful lyrics. They have made a career that says, ‘I never really compromised who I was.’ That’s an admirable trait.”

As of now, Fletcher is recording an EP which should be out before the show at MPAC and wants to keep writing. “I want to stay creative and pursue the thing I always loved,” he said, regarding his musical career.

In his free time, Fletcher likes to bowl, play pool, and hang out with his friends. “I have a great group of friends,” he said.

For more information on Brendan Fletcher, visit: https://www.brendanfletchermusic.com/

Journalist Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an author and public speaker. Her book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” is available on Amazon in paperback edition only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

 

Caldwell Salt Cave

Published May 21, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2484My husband, Dennis, relaxing at Caldwell Salt Cave

It’s been quite some time since I experienced the pleasures of relaxing in a salt cave. So my husband and I decided to check out the Caldwell Salt Cave, Caldwell, New Jersey earlier today.

Salt therapy is like spending some time on the beach, however, the benefits are more. In addition to relaxation, the salt is good for your skin, respiratory system, allergies, sinus congestion and more.

Sitting in a salt cave is a five-star experience. It’s meditative and rejuvenating. After spending time lying down with my feet in the salt, and even holding some salt in my hands, I felt incredible. My facial skin felt especially soft. (Ladies, if you do this, I encourage you to look in the mirror afterwards. You may feel you look five years younger or so!)

The owner Lynn is a DOLL!  She’s very knowledgeable about health and it was awesome chatting with her.

While waiting for the salt room, Lynn offered us herbal tea.

The storefront is beautiful. There’s gorgeous art on the walls, pretty seahorse pillow, lamps and diffusers. There’s many items for sale such as jewelry, soaps, essential oils, and candles.

Plus, there’s an assortment of spiritual books that people can borrow to read.

And even though I’m a Young Living distributor, I love that there’s DoTerra oils here because I am a fan of DoTerra too. I loved the DoTerra hand soap that was in the bathroom.

All in all, I can’t say enough good about this place — my husband and will definitely be back! Thank you Lynn, for your stellar hospitality!

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) 

Shape Shop ‘Angel’ Tours with Living Legend Punky Meadows

Published March 24, 2017 by Maryanne

Barbara Serbes

Here’s an article I wrote about Asbury Park Shape Shop owner, Barbara Serbes, touring as back-up singer with Punky Meadows: http://www.shapeshopasburypark.com/single-post/2017/03/20/Shape-Shop-%E2%80%98Angel%E2%80%99-Tours-with-Living-Legend-Punky-Meadows