I have never been good at putting my emotions and feelings into words but rather through photos and thought. I wanted to share my journey now, with words. Five years ago, I developed a panic and anxiety disorder during my first year in college. This was something that hit me hard out of the blue and pushed me right on my back. This was the hardest and most painful thing that I have ever been through. To say this was the worst time in my life is an understatement. I felt alone, helpless, scared, and lost all confidence in myself. Throughout the years I have masked this problem - up until around a year ago, not even the people closest to me knew of my struggles. Almost a year ago I sought out help and this was the best decision I could have made. Through months of therapy, I have learned that being open is a form of healing. I now talk very openly about what I have been through and continue to go through, which is something I never thought I would be able to do. I have learned just how strong we can be, how much we can endure, and how in spite of hard times, one never really loses who they are at the core of their being. For a long time I was afraid of what people would think of me if they knew of my struggles, while all the while I have been open about being an advocate for mental illness and reducing stigma, I did not want to be included. I now take it upon myself to not let my suffering be in vain, but to let it be something that I can use to educate others who may be going through the same. I want all to know that both myself and this business are ADVOCATES for reducing the stigma around mental health, for providing education about mental health, and for fighting for a better health care system in which people who are suffering can get the help that they need. Thank you for listening.
THE GALLERY COLLECTION
In collaboration with Casa Shop, the Gallery Collection. A chance to put passions and visions together to create an intimate gallery experience. To experience different paintings and sculptures further than the eye - with the touch of fingertips, palms, hips and back.
My beloved grandmother, Maria Palermo. Born and raised in Villa San Giuseppe in Southern Italy, my grandmother was a seamstress by trade starting at the age of 13. She made the most beautiful clothing ranging from dresses, pants, suits, and tops. My grandmother has the kindest presence, always welcoming with a warm smile and embrace. Although language is a barrier between us, love shared is not. When thinking of the production of my first piece, I thought of how special it would be to have someone I love so much make the first ones. Named after my grandmother, The Palermo Top is something for me that is once in a lifetime.
On a perfect Spring day, surrounded by friends and warmth, I was able to shoot a special collection in collaboration with New York based baker Lauren Schofield. It was so heartwarming to be able to shoot people who mean so much to me while also being able to enjoy Lauren's beautiful work of handmade milk bread, olive oil orange upside down cake, lemon panna cotta, almond thimble cookies, and bombolini with hibiscus pastry cream. From dappled light seeping through rosebushes, to the sweet and refreshing wind, this will be a day that will stay with me for a long time.
A feeling of home. A feeling that all is right, even if just for a fleeting moment. A feeling of calm, an influx of memories, a warm embrace. Certain places in my life give me this unique rush of emotion. For me, one of these places is by the water. I grew up very close to the beach - I can remember looking out to the water for hours, letting the sun warm my skin. Running along the shore, diving in the water and feeling weightless. Somewhere I went to get away but also a place shared with so many loved ones. I chose the beach as the location for my very first shoot for my site because of the love I have for it - I wanted that love to seep through every first photo. I believe every person has this place, one special area that you feel is all yours, that no one can love exactly the same way as you do.
How special life is, that we can notice and feel the warmth and tenderness of romance through photographs, music, even the simplest of sounds and touch. One of my favorite quotes is from Shana Chandra for anyonegirl which reads "Romance is not always between lovers. Nor is it confined to gestures. It can be a lens through which you notice life, through the smallest of things - the way a spoon is held, the way certain light diffuses through a window." I have always been enthralled with romance and everything connected to it. I try and see life through this lens and try to see the beauty of things even when that is not always easy. I wanted to share some of my favorite romantic films which are near to my heart - Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, The Light Between Oceans, A Room with a View, Emma, and Persuasion.
MUSEUM HOUSE TOUR
On a beautiful early spring day while shooting, my friend and I were stopped by a sweet woman asking what we were shooting. She preceded to tell us how she loved vintage objects and invited us to tour her home. A beautiful home built in 1906 right across from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Large open windows with hazy light seeping through, old books and paintings, which she knew every story behind. Sweet bedrooms with light pink bedding and lace covered bed frames. A home filled with abundant history and loved pieces, which I loved being able to see.
On a recent trip to my father's home town of Reggio Calabria in the South of Italy, I developed a love and appreciation for Murano glass. Visiting the homes of loved ones, I began to notice a common aspect of the decor - Murano. Murano glassware, perfume bottles, light fixtures, paperweights, even little decorative candies. The more I saw it the more I grew to love it not only for its beauty, but for something to carry with me as a symbol of the love I have for my heritage. I have curated favorite Murano Glass fixtures from eBay, Marc Petrovic, The Venetian Glass Museum, Paolo Venini, and Vetri Swirl Lamp Curated by Joana of La Mignonette.
One of my favorite films for reasons of love, nostalgia for a childhood home, and for memories never forgotten; Cinema Paradiso. Cinema Paradiso is a 1988 Italian film written by Giuseppe Tornatore and was set in the 1940's in Sicily. This film highlights many different types of intense loves - the love you have for a partner, a place, a passion. It encompasses a feeling that is hard to describe but familiar all the same. How is it that things change but stay the same all at once? This movie made me feel a nostalgia for my own childhood. For memories that will never change even though everything around it seems to. There are feelings that never leave us no matter where life takes us and this movie brings light to that in the most beautiful way.
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Joana of La-Mignonette and I have curated a collection of photographs from London based furniture business 1934 along with creations from Adolf Loos and Ikoson. 1934 is operated by Abel Sloane and Ruby Woodhouse. Together they research, buy, sell, loan, source and photograph furniture. Ruby Woodhouse produces imagery for 1934 whose photography and vision is nothing short of true subtle beauty. 1934 is inspired by Gerrit Reitveld's "crate series" in 1934 which to the duo epitomises democratic interior and involvement that everyone can enjoy. I find a quiet comfort in visiting the site and curations of 1934. The imagery takes me to the feeling of warmth I have when entering and admiring a space that I connect with.