women

All posts tagged women

My Response to “Appalled Graphic Designer”

Published June 24, 2020 by Maryanne

Girls Life

Recently, an “appalled graphic designer” changed the cover of Girls’ Life to her liking. Apparently, the original cover wasn’t empowering to young women. You can read the article here: https://womenyoushouldknow.net/appalled-graphic-designer-shows-girls-life-magazine-what-their-cover-should-look-like/

My response is something not many women want to hear, but it’s a reality that isn’t talked about much.

I came from a broken home. My mother worked two jobs to support two girls. I went to a prep high school and did excellent freshman year, but because we lacked the funds, I had to transfer to a public school, which I hated.

Bottom line, I graduated by the skin of my teeth and went straight to work, without college. Nevertheless I got opportunities and became what I wanted to be — a writer!

The first magazine I worked at, I KNOW I was hired because of my looks (back then, I am now in my 50s and just mediocre). And I am fine with that because back then I had nothing else to go on. Prior to that I was a waitress, drinking on the way to work, because I lost my dear grandmother who helped raise me and I felt devastated. I felt hopeless day in and day out. Not every woman is born an Einstein; and not every woman has opportunities. Some of us work very hard at it and if being cute and stylish gives some of us an edge, why not? At the time it might be all we know.

Don’t hate beautiful women, you don’t know their story!

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. In addition to Love Cats, 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: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

Love Cats – Second Printing Now Available!

Published June 4, 2020 by Maryanne
Love Cats 2020
“Love Cats” by Krystianna Mercury
With all the tragedy happening, I was hesitant as to when to write about the second printing of my book “Love Cats.” (Krystianna Mercury is the first time I’m using a pen name. You can purchase directly from Pink Flamingo: Love Cats).
I’ve decided that making my announcement today, National Old Maids Day would be appropriate, because it’s a day to support single and childless women.
In “Love Cats” (Love Cats) I address the “old maid” issue via my character Janey.
 
Janey starts out as a smart character who wants a guy with substance. Though when she meets one, her insecurities get the best of her and she subconsciously does everything she could to kill the relationship. Though the difference between me and her is that while creative success is what drove me, Janey doesn’t need any kind of success as she’s already a wealthy trust fund and she’s simply driven by her own selfishness.
 
Whatever motivates us to stay single (work, fear, waiting for the right one, etc.) I think it’s super cool that in these modern times women are viewed as so much more and we no longer have to live in “shame” because we aren’t hooked up.
 
I tell everyone who asks my advice, to wait. Wait until you meet that one of a kind soul mate who rocks your world. There is no need to settle. Nor was there a need to settle 30 years ago either, we just took more shit from people for not settling. I’ve avoided certain relatives for years because they were more interested in who I was dating and how serious it was. Not my career, not my interests, not my dreams or desires. Just who I was dating and if marriage was in the cards.
 
I dreaded those horrible questions, yet stuck to my guns and never settled.
 
Mind you, when I say “never settled” while I did date a ton of jerks, I also dated some really cool guys — just not right for ME. I am still friends with some of these guys and my husband likes them too. We are so blessed that we have such an honest relationship with each other. And his ex-girlfriend’s brother is my favorite of all his friends! And that’s another cool blog for a later date, how trust is the most beautiful thing in a relationship.
 
But back to Janey …
 
In “Love Cats” Janey’s live-in maid, Lucia refers to her as an “old lady” for not having a ring on her finger — and she’s not even 25 yet! But that’s how it was in the 1980s. So much pressure for a young girl trying to find herself. Too much noise from the peanut gallery. Urgh!
 
It’s so cool that it’s acceptable today for women to live at home longer, concentrate on their careers, and not even marry at all if they don’t want to. Even though I’m married, I can sigh with relief that there is no pressure on me to bear children and raise a family. My husband and I are perfectly fine with our little love cat, Derick. Life is so good when you don’t have the rest of the world throwing their desires in YOUR face. We’re so blessed to exist in a live and let live time. Let’s keep it that way!
 
We’ve come a long way baby!
 
THANK GOD!

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. In addition to Love Cats, 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

Being Authentic… to Ourselves and Each Other

Published May 28, 2020 by Maryanne

Being Authentic: A Memoir by Morhaf Al Achkar, MD, PhD

Review by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

While many people are complaining about being cooped up during the pandemic, I’m secretly rejoicing because I’ve been doing what I didn’t have much time for before—READING! Since the mid-March lockdown, I’ve read six books, all special in their own right.

Prior to writing this review, I questioned myself… Is it weird to say I can relate to a man who was born in Syria, two years after I graduated high school? A man who became both an MD and a PhD–whereas I struggled just to get my diploma?

First, I took the safe route and wrote the blog as a regular book review. However, after a re-read, my review appeared dull and stale. This author deserves so much more. After he exposed his deep feelings for all to read, I promised myself I should do the same. I do not see that as narcissistic, but rather compassionate. In this review I want people to see me as a person who can find something in common with almost anyone—male/female, young/older, rich/middle class/poor, black/white/mixed. Because this is what the world needs right now, to focus on what we have in common, rather than what sets us apart. (And, honestly, I’ve been quiet about politics for too long, so read on!)

Leo

Author, Morhaf Al Alchar, MD, PhD, and faithful companion, Leo! 

Morhaf Al Achkar has not reached his 40th birthday, yet he ponders death.

I question: Why is he thinking about this now? Perhaps because of his struggle with both Crohn’s disease and a stage four lung cancer; perhaps because he dealt with the devastating loss of his own mother at a young age; or perhaps because we are in the midst a pandemic, all of us facing a virus that has no cure yet. And so many people are at each other’s throats, making it political.

In his memoir, Dr. Achkar strives to be authentic—his true self. And that he is. His story is direct as he gets right to the point with no apologies. And he is vulnerable. There is absolutely no pretense. You do not feel like you are reading a book written by a doctor, with both an MD and a PhD. Instead, you are chatting with a brand new friend.

Growing up in Syria, in a family of nine children, Morhaf often locked himself in a room reading books. He was labeled the “philosopher of his family” by his father. Early on, one of his major struggles was living in a culture “with hypertrophied masculinity.” Men boasting of foolish things like beatings or shootings was the norm. There were also bullies and schoolteachers who were abusive. Wise beyond his years, Morhaf made sense of it all and did not let any of this hinder his growth as a human being. As a person who was also bullied, I relate to this.

Once I began sharing my story to others, I no longer felt shame, but rather a big relief—even empowered! When I read about other people being bullied, it’s a soft spot for me. I can’t help but get a lump in my throat. Then I immediately switch my brain to the good parts of one’s life; their triumphs!

The saving grace in this picture is Morhaf’s mother, a warm, trusting woman, but one of authority and one who greatly valued education. Reading about how his mom pushed Morhaf to take the first steps on the dance floor reminded me of my grandmother.

Grandma practically raised me since my parents were divorced and neither were around much. I think about a family reunion we had when I was about 12. My sister, cousins and I danced to the hired band. When the reunion came to an end, my grandmother encouraged me to “talk to them.” I was shy, but wanted to make Grandma happy, so with my older cousin, we went up to the stage and asked the musicians for their autographs. A parent or grandparent encouraging the kids to dance or talk to someone at a party is a great move to get a kid out of their shy shell.

Another way I relate to Morhaf is not being satisfied with religion and rituals. As a Muslim he reflects on his faith after his mother passes. I was raised without religion, so I had nothing to go by except the standards Catholic holidays that Italian families practiced. When I was 24, I met an older Filipino gentleman who became my mentor. Together we studied religions and philosophies from all over the world.

Remaining open-minded until I met some Christian friends, I decided to give Christianity a chance. But then after my grandmother died, I lost faith, the same way Morhaf felt his faith was faltering after his mother died.

I stopped going to church and celebrating any holidays that had to do with Jesus. When I returned to faith, I took it all with a grain of salt, saving the positive and discarding what seemed overbearing. I now believe in Jesus, but also Buddha, God, and The Universe.

Perhaps this is something people of all faiths go through, but not many admit. So once again, as I’m reading the book, I am grateful to Morhaf for his honesty.

Amongst his great successes, he has had his shares of disappointments too. His passion in activism inspired was an option to leave his family, but after failing a commission-based job, he returned home.

Some of the best times seem to be spent in America. At first, Morhaf lived in Columbus, Ohio with his sister and continued to study. He traveled extensively throughout the USA. In addition to his studies, he had fun adventures that young people experience like dancing, hookah nights, playing cards, consuming cheap drinks, and adopting a canine companion named Leo.

Sadly, dating was an issue, especially in Indiana, where he lived and where many women were prejudiced to his color and didn’t think twice about making racist remarks. It felt terrible to read this. I am sorry that many USA women put a bad taste in one’s mouth, but I want people from other countries to know we are not all that way.

I live in NJ, a democratic state where we are open-minded to making friends of all races and colors—without judgement. I know behind my back my conservative friends and family refer to me as a “Libtard.” It’s wrong and very hurtful.

As a spiritual person, I refuse to retaliate with words and placing derogatory memes on Facebook. Instead I pray for them. And I pray for our president, who I do not care for.

During the month Donald Trump was elected president, Dr. Morhaf was diagnosed with cancer. As a Syrian immigrant he felt affected by the ban on Muslims, fearing he would not be able to say goodbye to his family. He wrote a letter to speak of his struggles. It was published in a Huffington Post blog, entitled “Dear Mr. Trump, You Are Cancer and I Only Live If You Shrink!” The letter explained what it was like to live with what he had then perceived as a terminal illness and as a Syrian immigrant affected by the ban on Muslims. After writing the letter, he felt empowered and liberated him to engage with the Syrian struggle.

I suppose many have friends who have immigrated to the United States and have been affected by Trump’s stance. It is absolutely heartbreaking seeing families being broken up. I know one personally, and will leave it at that to protect their privacy.

Aside from the prejudice Morhaf experienced from American women, he has decided to stay single because he doesn’t want to be a burden to someone should his health fail. I seriously hope he changes his mind because true love is mending.

I’ve shared the story many times and am happy to share it again. When I first began dating my husband I was going to many doctors because I never felt right. A few doctors feared I had cancer. After many ultra-sounds, CAT scans, and countless opinions nothing was found. Seven months after dating my husband, I had one final test that showed I was cancer-free and perfectly healthy! A week later I felt better than I did my entire life! Having a supportive loving person by my side healed me. I believe that!

So, you can see why I’ve enjoyed “Being Authentic” so much. There’s enough to relate to, but also much to learn. And, that, is what a good book should be!

Morhaf’s reflections on life in his later years, while he is now, fortunately, in stable health, we see that he is a true humanitarian and invites others to be as authentic as he is. This is what I wanted from my book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You.” I want others to share their stories without feeling disgrace. The troubled times are what got you to where you are today. Always remember that.

When we look deep inside ourselves, and share our notions in writing, the reader gets a peek at our true soul. A reader may not “get it” entirely, but the more open an author is, the more we can learn about each other; and love each other. After all, deep down we are more alike than different. This is a book everyone can learn from. And Morhaf will be remembered for writing it.

To purchase “Being Authentic” (and have a sneak peek inside the book) please click on this link: Being Authentic

Follow Morhaf Al Alchar on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/morhafalachkar

95849294_2817039011678255_9072810759997620224_oBeing Authentic book cover

 

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

 

Why You SHOULD Work With Friends

Published January 26, 2020 by Maryanne

Darlene Asbury Park

The Friends That Create Together, Stay Together! 

Pictured in photo, left, Darlene Foster, right Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

URGH! A few days ago I overheard someone utter that dreadful cliche, “You shouldn’t work with friends.” Yeah, say that to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards!

Like the Glitter Twins, I’m here to prove that silly saying wrong. Hear me out…

I’ve found my magical “glitter twin” in not only my husband, but in many friends! But before I share the magic, here are my top reasons why it’s best to work with friends/lovers:

  • You already like/love each other, so you are off to a good start. There’s no tension, no “breaking the ice,” and the competitiveness is healthy — you want each other to succeed.
  • True friends/true lovers are NOT jealous of each other.
  • You thrive off of your creative differences.
  • You move ahead faster because you know each other well.
  • Celebrations of success are that much sweeter.

Working with someone you don’t know very well (or don’t like) never brings a project to fruition. Countless times I’ve stopped editing or ghost writing a book because I couldn’t stand the person I was working with. I’ve had dream jobs I’ve quit because my co-workers were the pits (and came out ahead of the game with the next job or project – go me!)

So, if someone tells you it’s not a good idea to work with a friend or a lover, I’m here to prove them wrong. Of the hundreds of friend/lover collaborations I’ve done over the years, here are a handful of my random favorites (in no particular order).

The Hounds of Winter “Come On Christmas”  

The above video was made possible by people in my circle who are all forever connected, Ric Pink; vocals; Tom DiPaolo: guitars; Dennis Mistretta (my husband): bass; Tom Corea: drums; and I did backing vocals at the last minute. Oh, and my good friend Darlene Foster (long-time girlfriend of the guitarist Tom DiPaolo) created the cover art. The CD was made in 2012. Note, sometimes Tom Corea’s wife Carol plays instruments on the CDs too.

Seltzer’s Rainbow Heart 

Editing “Seltzer’s Rainbow Heart” for my good friend Jayne DiGregorio, was super fun. It was the beginning of many projects we have done together. I’ve helped her promote the book, wrote about her Care Bear non-profit for newspapers, and we worked together on other projects too. Working together was never a problem, it only brought us closer.

Darlene Foster 

Ten years ago I modeled for my artist/photographer friend Darlene Foster. And some of the photos sold too! Since then she’s designed two of my book covers, and is a current participant in my upcoming book, “Fantastic without Plastic” (a book about positive, attractive women who look/feel amazing while shunning plastic surgery and Botox).

And while my husband is a humble person who doesn’t like to be called out in blogs or on Facebook, I have to override him this time to say that he’s the one person I can count on who ALWAYS (and I do mean ALWAYS) reads my articles. He comes to as many of my speaking engagements as he can (and gives me rides too!) and cheers me on when I come up with new ideas. When I’m feeling down, he’s the one I can count on to remind me, I’ve got a name.

Can you get all that from a mere acquaintance or someone in an office you barely know?! ABSOLUTELY NOT!

And all that said, if I need to work with someone, I will call on a my husband or a friend first! I know they are reliable, fun, hard-working, and creative. It’s a joyful existence for sure!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero

Published January 9, 2019 by Maryanne

kicam cover

I am ecstatic to reveal the cover, and the landing page of my upcoming book Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways To Become Your Own Hero, published by KiCam!

Release date is October 2019, and you can order yours today here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an international author and speaker. She is available for events. For availability and pricing, contact: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

She is also a professional blogger, book editor and ghost writer. Contact today for rates: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Are You Making a Difference Today?

Published September 14, 2018 by Maryanne

Victoria Woodhull

For the few who know how to read …
Is everyone following their dreams today? I am.
Is everyone working towards making the world a better place?
I am.
The biggest dream I have for 2019 is to get into the schools and speak on anti-bullying. I don’t say this verbally because you mention “bully” and people like to bring up how our president is the biggest bully. While I agree, I must also add that I feel neither party is 100 percent correct. Being an extremist and not finding flaw with your own party, going by a protocol is wrong.
You have to take your own steps to make the world a better place even if it means getting angry because that’s when you make a difference. Even if people laugh at you, STILL have your say! Laugh back at them because your views are just as important as everyone else. Especially if you are a woman, it’s your right.
Sharing hateful posts on Facebook that YOU DIDN’T WRITE isn’t going to do anything to change our country. Being right isn’t going to do anything to change our country. Calling someone a bully isn’t going to do anything to change our country. If you strongly believe in something, take a giant step towards doing it. You WILL be heard.
My two biggest inspirations are Rosa Parks and Victoria Woodhull. One changed the world, the other sure did try!
If you don’t know who they are, educate yourself about them. Be inspired and do your part. Especially if you are a woman! Being silent is not a good thing. If you’re shy and quiet, work towards having a bigger mouth, you CAN make a difference.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of the memoir “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” which is about her experiences growing up being bullied. She now is putting adult bullies in their places! Links to the book are here: 

HGBM Store:  https://highergroundbooksandmedia.com/product/i-dont-want-to-be-like-you

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1536446696&sr=8-2&keywords=maryanne+christiano+mistretta

Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H6H4CY1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536446756&sr=8-1&keywords=maryanne+christiano+mistretta+kindle 

Paterson students find inspiration at workshop on political involvement

Published March 25, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_0409Paterson student, Danielle Lowery (Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Friday afternoon I had another most rewarding experience covering a political workshop for teenage girls in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey.

It was awesome interviewing teachers, politicians and the students!

Check out my article: http://www.northjersey.com/news/Paterson_students_find_inspiration_at_workshop_on_political_involvement.html?page=all

The Best Thing in 1954 Was the Bikini

Published June 22, 2012 by Maryanne

Me on the beach, and in my 40s. Not perfect, but enjoying myself. You should too!

A blogger I follow wrote yesterday that she favored the one-piece swim suit over a bikini and put up amazing photos of beautiful women in one-piece bathing suits. She felt that a one-piece is more flattering to a woman’s body.

I beg to differ.

To me, if you pick out the wrong one, a one-piece bathing suit can look as uncomfortable as your grandmother’s girdle!

Some may argue that one-piece bathing suits are more practical for swimming sports, but you can have an “oops” moment with a one piece too as it rides up your ass if a big wave hits you the wrong way. And breasts can pop out of any bathing suit, as well as halter tops and other summer wear, not just a bikini. What the hell, shit happens, give an old man a thrill.

If modesty is an issue, I’d like to see women wearing Victorian swimsuits, which are hot as hell. And if a designer chooses to bring the old Victorian suits to the masses, I am so there.

But until that happens, I’m sticking with the bikini.

In my humble opinion everybody looks good in a bikini! Face it, a bikini is the closest thing you can get to public nudity, and I think most men (and many women) would agree with me that there is nothing more beautiful than a nude woman no matter what her shape, size or age is.

Last night I was on the beach with my husband. There was a woman, in her late 20s/early 30s, romping around in a bikini. She had a big belly with a huge scar underneath her belly button. She was sexy as hell! She didn’t look like what the fashion industry considers a model or someone you’d see on the cover of Sports Illustrated — I thought she looked BETTER! I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. She represented freedom and she looked very happy. There wasn’t an ounce of insecurity in her gorgeous body!

Being a beach fan, I’m always checking out different types of women and you can’t deny how enticing the bikini is. Whether it’s worn by a proud gym-going goddess or someone who obviously likes her beer, it’s ALL GOOD!

I’ve seen stunning women who were very old wearing bikinis — and wow, with a nice tan, a smashing sun hat and ultra chic sunglasses, you hardly notice the wrinkles! Old women really have a knack for working their inner movie star!

Little girls and babies wear bikinis  — hooray for them. I wore one too when I was a little girl and I liked it better than a one-piece because it was easier take off when I had go to the bathroom. I once worked with a woman who thought a bikini on a baby was “disgusting.” I firmly said I disagreed and there was nothing wrong with it.

When the woman left the room, a man who was the father of twin baby girls whispered to me, “I’m glad you defended babies in bikinis. My girls wear them!”

That must have been adorable!

Bikinis are liberating and going to the beach or pool is probably the only time most of us will wear one. And a trip to the beach or pool should mean being comfortable (not sitting around freezing because your wet one-piece suit is making your belly cold because you can’t dry it!). People shouldn’t have to worry about being scrutinized for what they look like, whether they have a belly, scars, a baby bump, tattoos, varicose veins and/or stretch marks.

In other countries women of all ages go topless and it’s okay. Why are we Americans so prudish and mean, hurting others by making catty remarks about who or who doesn’t have a “bikini body”? It’s just so unnecessary. I HATE those tabloids that make fun of actresses who gained weight or have stretch marks. Who cares?! They’re HUMAN!

People are on the beach to get sun, relaxation and exercise. Going to the beach should be a HEALTHY experience, not a time for worrying about fashion, what you look like, and who is judging you. (Mind you, I’m all for fashion, but definitely not taking it too seriously, because it’s not the end all!)

So ladies, please stop picking on other women. Instead, embrace how great it is that God created us all in our very special beautiful ways. Men are easy on us, so let’s be easier on ourselves. And easier on others too!

And if you’re really uncomfortable wearing a bikini, that’s okay too. Just don’t feel pressured into NOT wearing one because of standards set by shallow people.

Just remember, for every shallow person, there’s an artistic person out there (male and/or female) who appreciates all forms of beauty! So, you go girl!