inspiration

All posts tagged inspiration

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

True Friends Fight Nice

Published March 12, 2017 by Maryanne

Friends 2

Fighting sucks.

It gets your riled up, sad, and maybe even depressed. But it’s inevitable that even the best of friends may argue from time to time. And why wouldn’t they? It’s impossible that people will agree on everything. Or that we’re perfect and will always say the right thing at the right time. Sometimes things come out wrong. Sometimes we simply misunderstand. Sometimes we let things go. Sometimes we can’t.

Whatever the situation, we can’t help it, we will argue.

The thing is, true friends will fight nice.

There’s a big difference between fighting nice and fighting nasty. Fighting nasty is name-calling, being irrational, or possibly looking for an excuse to end the friendship. That is NOT cool. And that’s the kind of “friend” you are better off without.

A real classy gal knows how to fight “nice.” This means, stay focused on the issue at hand. Don’t ever insult your friend. Don’t question, “What’s wrong with you?” (Ew, that is such a gross thing to say to someone!) Don’t question your friends mental stability just because he or she disagrees with you. (That’s even more gross!) And don’t forget, to belittle is to BE LITTLE. Only jerks name call. Whenever someone pulls that crap with me, I write that person off … forever. If someone does it to you once, they will do it to you again. Arguing and fighting will happen, but it doesn’t have to stoop to a schoolyard bully level. Instead, do it with style!

I am so blessed to have quite a few wonderful friends that can handle shit in an honest, intelligent manner. At the time, it doesn’t feel good, but we get through it. I LOVE that my friends stand up for themselves and can disagree with me; and vice versa, as they allow me speak my mind too; because a good friendship is based on honesty.

Some of my friends and I will actually tell each other we love each other WHILE WE ARE ARGUING! How cool is that?! It’s like, “I love you, and we can work this out! I WANT to work it out!” And we always do work it out!

All of these smart, gorgeous, creative ladies that I’ve bonded with over the years; those I met in high school, those I met at concerts, those I met through my husband, those I met via my career, I love, love, love, love them so much!

When a friendship is worth GOLD, a real friend doesn’t run away or end it. They stay strong with you; as you do with them. They know deep in their hearts that putting each other down is not the way to go; as that’s stupid and the friendship will be ruined for life.

To always be kind, even when you are mad, is a great blessing. Talking things out like adults is the way to go.

I LOVE all my friends and get excited just thinking about them! Thank you for knowing how to be a true friend; through thick and thin! And for loving me as I love you … forever

All in the Family, When Everyone Was in on the Joke.

Published February 28, 2017 by Maryanne

all-in-the-family

Archie wasn’t PC — but his lessons were learned via REAL humor, not hate 

I am friends with one, two, three, at least, couples who have an autistic child; and had the honor to write articles about their triumphs and struggles. Years ago, people who had autism were referred to as “retards.” Sadly, it’s an ugly word that people are using today, especially in the political sense when they disagree with people. The word “Libtard” (meaning that a person who has liberal views is retarded) is ugly. I don’t do ugly.
I am not a “snowflake” as I’m been called. Nor am I PC obsessive.I just have compassion and will definitely stand up to something I don’t think is right, especially when I see it in my news feed.
Years ago, you had celebrities joking around name calling, like on the Dean Martin Show and on All in the Family. But in the end, the one who was wrong was made the buffoon and a lesson was taught. Just like in modern shows like “Superior Donuts” and even going back a few years to the movie “Zac & Miri Make a Porno.”
On these television shows and movies, everyone is in on the “joke” and they are written with humor — not hate. There’s a punchline, people laugh, and no one is bullied.
Hatefully using a word, comparing a person to someone with autism is more than not right — it’s scary, condescending and insulting on so many levels. What really gets me is that I’ve heard so many parents say it. How would they feel if their son or daughter was autistic and they had to hear that nasty word on a regular basis?
I do not have children, but I’ve spoken to friends who have and both Republicans and Democrats views and agree that it’s not cool to say that unkind word.
I’m just really shocked at how many other parents think that word is “okay.”
It’s NOT okay.

Dream Come True!

Published February 25, 2017 by Maryanne

sam_2169Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, author

Yesterday my life changed.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the email that my third book that I’ve been shopping around for almost a year was going to be published — traditionally!

My first two book efforts were self-published, which was an incredible experience in itself. I am forever grateful for making the effort of putting out two of my own books. It was exciting hiring good friends to do the cover and to proofread. And then be in charge of my own marketing experience, getting myself on radio stations, in libraries, and record stores for book signing events. What a ride!

Then it got to a point where I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t go for the instant gratification. What would happen if I shopped my third book around?

“The Gypsy Smiled” is in a unique category, music fiction. I did not invent that genre, as I’ve seen it used before. Last year I sent it out to several publishers and then waited.

And when I least expected it, I was contacted by a traditional publisher! My book will be published and available all over the world in the next three to six months!

So, not to be secretive, but I’d rather stop here and when the book is published, I’ll talk about it — especially how super cool my publisher is!

All I will say, at this point, to anyone — don’t give up on your dreams! Keep believing in yourself and enjoy every bit of the ride. I mean, the chances of being published traditional are pretty slim; and I am so humbled to be one of the fortunate ones.

You just have to love what you do, whether you are successful or not. Love every minute of the process: the writing and the writer’s block; the success and the rejection letters; the praise as well as the bad reviews … and the long days where it seems like nothing is happening, because it really IS; the universe is just getting all the ducks in order for you to start shining.

It happened to me, and it could happen to you!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, now an upcoming traditionally published author, has self published two books, both available on Amazon:

On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X4

Love Cats (in paperback and Kindle versions): https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513

She is also an award-winning journalist, currently writing for Vitamin Retailer magazine and New View Media news publications; as well as proofreading legal ordinances at Coded Systems in Spring Lake, New Jersey.