BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN Born and raised in Suffern, N.Y., but moved in my formative years to Westerly.
FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND MY TIME Packing up my camera and iPod and traveling around Rhode Island discovering and photographing all the beautiful landscapes our state has to offer.
PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT I feel that I have a lot more living to do before I reach my “proudest accomplishment,” but to date, my biggest accomplishment has been getting back to my natural hair color. I haven’t seen my natural color in 17 years!
WHAT I HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR My baking. My Grandma Lucy passed away 12 years ago and my family STILL talks about her meatballs. They are the gold standard. I want my desserts to be remembered and held in that same high regard when I’m gone.
TOP ITEM ON MY BUCKET LIST Fly. Somewhere, anywhere. I’m terrified of flying, but it’s on my list of things to do before I turn 30.
ALWAYS AROUND MY NECK My grandma Santa’s cross necklace. There was a never a day that she didn’t have this on. I wear it in her memory.
WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz.” I watched that movie obsessively when I was a kid (much to my family’s dismay), until it mysteriously went missing one day … (Uncle Fred, I’m looking at you!)
PERSON OR EXPERIENCE THAT HAS INFLUENCED ME THE MOST My mom. She is the epitome of a strong woman. I couldn’t have had a better role model growing up. I consider it an amazing compliment whenever someone says I look/act/talk just like her.
FAVORITE AUTHOR Jill Shalvis.
LAST BOOK READ “Too Good to Be True,” by Kristan Higgins.
FAVORITE SONG “Manhattan” by Sara Bareilles.
FAVORITE MOVIES “Spaceballs,” any of the “Lethal Weapon” movies and, of course, “The Wizard of Oz.”
FAVORITE TV SHOW “New Girl.”
FAVORITE PET Fiona, my unruly, yet lovable, 4-year-old wheaten terrier.
FAVORITE FOOD Bagels from Bagel Boys in Suffern, N.Y. There’s nothing like a New York bagel!
AMOUNT OF TIME I SPEND A DAY ON FACEBOOK Sorry… what was the question? I was updating my status and Instagramming a picture of my new shoes …
TRAIT I MOST ADMIRE A good sense of humor. If you can make me laugh, then you’re already ahead of the other guy.
PET PEEVE Indecisiveness. Just pick one already!
FAVORITE QUOTATION “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti” — Sophia Loren.
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD That we’re close enough to take a day trip to some of the greatest cities in the world, yet you can still come home to our amazing, quaint little town and enjoy a peaceful sunset in Watch Hill.
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT My iPod. Music is everything to me
LITTLE-KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME Anyone who knows me now would be shocked to know that when I was little, I was so painfully shy; I would hide from company, usually behind my mom or, in a pinch, the sofa. It’s hard to believe the yenta sitting in front of you right now was once afraid to utter two words to a guest.
BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism. Ignore it.
ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE I don’t have a “go-to” piece of advice, but I do play an awesome devil’s advocate. I pride myself on providing people with a different way of looking at things.
IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD Change the “ideals” that society has put upon a person’s appearance. We’re all beautiful, and we should be teaching our children about accepting themselves and others as they are, not as we wish them to be.
IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THINGS I WOULD DO ARE Pay off my mother and brother’s mortgages on their houses, set up a trust fund for my niece and nephew, and take a month-long vacation to somewhere tropical.
I DRIVE A 2010 charcoal gray Toyota Corolla.
I WISH I DROVE A Convertible. I’m not picky. I just want the top down.
ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE Garlic paste and fresh pecorino romano. Dear God, all I need is the ribboned donkey cart full of oregano and I’d be a Francesco Rinaldi commercial.
IF I COULD HAVE DINNER AND A CONVERSATION WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD I WOULD CHOOSE My grandparents. Both of my grandfathers died before I was born, and I just miss my grandmothers so much. Besides … one more chance to have grandma Lu make her famous meatballs?? I wouldn’t miss that opportunity for the world!
— Interview conducted and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro.