Photos and Stories from My Life to Help Illustrate Who I am.

When I was very young I had a nightmare that I was being chased by a jug of strawberry milk.I lost my appetite for it after that.

This is me standing outside of my very first house that I had the pleasure of living in until I was seven years old. A month before my tenth birthday I lost my father to a heart attack shortly after he and my mother divorced. In these few years my younger sister and I moved around what seemed like constantly. Between parents, houses, apartments, states, and eventually countries, I’ve lived in over 13 different residences throughout my life.

This is my family. Ian is my partner and Olive is our house-beast. She owns her very own passport and has traveled with us from various states to NYC, Montreal, Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice, Rovinj, Split, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and she always manages to make friends and terrorize birds no matter where we end up.

Sometimes I forget that Ian and I started off long distance. I was living in Brooklyn, NY while he was finishing his BS in Massachusetts. I met him at his New Years party after a mutual friend invited me. Between a lack of will to leave and terrible driving conditions, a small group of us stayed at the house for four nights. The morning after the party Ian and I joked that we would travel the world together and here we are.

In August of 2015 I found the saddest puppy in a Long Island animal shelter. The moment I looked into her huge eyes I started crying and I took her home with me. I remember how surreal it was sitting in the back of the car with her on the way home. From New York to Sweden to anywhere else life may lead, we're an inseparable team. Just the two of us (and Ian).

My father was protective, gentle, absolutely hilarious, and a wonderful teacher of unconditional love. Though our time together was cut short, I feel very lucky to have had such a wonderful father.

When I was seventeen I moved to New York City to study art and design. During my time there I was exposed to a variety of cultures and traditions which emphasized my desire to travel and experience everyday life from different perspectives. Above I am standing with garments from my lingerie collection that I designed and constructed myself.

I was a competitive cheerleader for nine years. My sister and I would carpool with teammates who lived near us to commute almost 1 ½ hours to and from practice twice a week. It consumed all of our (and our mother's) weekends during the competition season.  It was incredibly demanding physically and emotionally and I miss it terribly. It taught me a solid lesson in dedication and comradery.

Olive has made hiking one of my favorite activities. She is a crazy woman full of energy and I love watching her bolt around just beaming. At this point we made it to the top of a ridiculous hill and it was time for a break.

I once crawled into my baby sister's crib, wrapped my arm around her, and told her that she was part of the cool kids club. Her eyes grew, she asked “really?” and I assured her it was true. I found out later that my mom was listening on the baby monitor which was terribly embarrassing.  As it currently stands, my sister is much cooler than me.   

When I was in high school I chased three six foot tall guys down the street after I caught them stealing from my family's van. My boyfriend at the time stayed back to alert my mom (he must have assumed I had it covered) and with some help we were able to catch the guys involved. They had been stealing from all of the families down my street.

While climbing up the Church of Our Saviour in Copenhagen (tall, thin spiral church), Ian and I saw a flickering light over a dreary scene so naturally we ran over to act out a long death scene (complete with strange noises) for Ian’s mother who was about to round the corner. It was well received by her and the guy we had no idea was watching from above.   

I chose to wear this Ladybug costume 5 years in a row for Halloween. I loved it. My sister wanted no part of it once I grew out of it.

Through one October, Ian and I worked at a haunted house in Sleepy Hollow, New York as Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel. I cannot speak highly enough of our boss, our makeup artists, and various other team members. We felt so taken care of and appreciated the entire time that my ideals on acceptable working conditions changed.   

My Great Grandmother watched me a lot while I was growing up. She was the first generation of my family to immigrate from Italy to New York. She would always tell me about how much she loved school. She recalled how her class went on a field trip to go see a movie, but she didn’t have the money to cover the cost of a ticket (one dime) so a fellow classmate bought the ticket for her. I love that she remembered that through her 90s and even pointed the young woman out to me in a photo she kept of her class.

When I was three years old I adopted my very first puppy, Jake. As you can see he grew to be much larger than me (maybe because he would steal my cheeseburgers).  I remember throwing sticks for him in the backyard that matched my height and using him as a giant cuddly pillow. We had the best time together until he had to live with other family members after my parents’ divorce. 

I thought I was going to fall off of the roof in this photo. Now as the photographer I find myself in interesting places, climbing on tables, laying in mud, getting on Ian’s shoulders, changing my height/position to get the shot. Ian (who makes a beautiful witch) has started taking photos of me taking photos since he loves how funny it is to see me in ridiculous situations.

I once used a marker to draw a map that lead through a few rooms in our house on the carpet.  That was the day I learned that not everything was a meant to be a canvas and not everyone would appreciate my art.

I have been referred to as “a champion of interpretive dance.”

Good Morning America hired Ian and I to play the part of Ichabod and Katrina as part of the live Halloween meteorology segment. The night before the shoot we left the haunt around 12:30am, checked into our comped hotel room (with Olive since our boss covered the pet fee) got  2 ½ hours of sleep, then met our boss and makeup artist in the lobby to get started at 4am. The entire time we had NO idea what they wanted from us only to find around 5:30am they forgot to send us the script. Luckily we were sentient enough to nail both segments. We then went back to the hotel to nap for one hour since that’s all we had before check out. We grabbed some Chinese food for lunch, then it was right back to the haunt to re-apply makeup/prosthetics and make small children cry (Ian) until the very next day. It was the BEST Halloween I have ever had.   

They took his face OFF and put it on my pillow case. From my friend who gets it.

One of my favorite memories is of my father making up funny songs and dances in our kitchen to help me memorize words for a spelling test.  He made learning and improving an enjoyable bonding experience. With him I was never made to feel small or less than which I unfortunately lost for a while after I was without him.  The trusting environment he created encouraged positive growth for me both as a child and as an adult who aims to follow his lead.

Ian and I love working on creative projects together which sometimes means we end up in seemingly bizarre situations.

While I was in grade school I co-coached a pee-wee cheerleading team with one of my friends. We had the best time coaching these girls and it touched my heart to find how some of them looked up to us. I had a mother reach out to me to tell me that her daughter slept with the note I wrote for her under her pillow every night. When it was time for nationals the owner of the team (my coach) rented a limo to take all of us to the competition, which added so much joy and closeness to the day.  

I’ve once had someone leave me to run off and join the circus.

This guy has been my dearest friend since we were in high school. We’ve shared family dinners, sent each other the strangest things we could find, fabricated the best ridiculously insane stories, and have been each other's trusted confidants through some of the most awkward parts of life.

Holy triple feature, Batman! (Batman is rad)

I. Love. Snacks.  After being away from my home country for more than a year now, I have dreams where I find myself in American grocery stores. Though the plus side is I’ve been forced to learn how to make some of my favorite foods from scratch.  

Olive is my muse.

Ian’s absolute favorite cuisine is french, so since I couldn’t afford to fly us to France (we were living in the states at the time) I planned a surprise trip to Montreal to celebrate his birthday. I grabbed his passport, told him what to pack, set the address in the GPS and let him unknowingly drive into another country. Before the trip I did a ton of research selecting restaurants, even ones that would cater to Olive. I cannot express how wonderful this trip was.

Even some of my closest friends have a hard time deciphering whether I’m being sarcastic or not.

I retired from competitive cheerleading after my sophomore year of high school to fully dedicate myself to the drama department of my high school. When I look back I realize that was a huge risk, altering what had been my way of life for nine years when I was never promised a role. I never thought too much about that, I just knew It was something I was passionate about doing. I ended up being cast as Ophelia in our production of Hamlet and Myrtle Mae Simmons in Harvey, which is exactly what I hoped for. The best part was always the week before the show opened where we would all be rehearsing until 11pm every night. The photo on the right is us having dinner on one of these nights.

The first time I laughed was with my Grandmother on Christmas day when I was just over two months old. 

After my parents divorce there were times Cassandra and I would only see our dad every other weekend. Every single night we were apart he would call us to hear about our day and to tell us that he loved us.  I don’t remember the full contents of our last conversation but I know that our last words to each other were “I love you” as they were every night.

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