The Mariani Wedding

This summer I was gifted with the opportunity to photograph a family friend’s wedding!

This was an important opportunity for me as I’ve always wanted to take my photography to the next level. The unfortunate deterrent is the hefty start up cost for photography. From buying new gear, to practicing for free, to high client standards and seemingly low pay, it was hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of truly pursuing photography as a potential career. And it still is. Fortunately my friend allowed me to borrow her nicer lenses for the wedding as I haven’t updated my equipment in years. Although this is my passion, I am unsure if I will truly ever pursue photography how I wanted to-If I’m being candid.

The fact is, I love taking photos and inspiring people through my work. I love seeing people feel special and beautiful after seeing just a few great photographs that were taken of them. I think a picture truly does speak 1000 words-especially on such a day as a wedding. It creates a vivid memorial that one can treasure forever.

It was such a marvelous and beautiful day for Andi and Gary. It really embodied real and lasting love-and that you can find it at anytime in life! There was nothing over the top. It was true hard work and love that centered the wedding. Everything was beautiful and everything was simple.

Below are a few of my favorite shots to sum up the perfect summer evening:


Thank you to Andi + Gary for allowing me to capture your special day! What a treat.

I am truly inspired!





Exploregon: Elowah Falls & McCord Creek Trail

Elowah Falls is located near John B Yeon Park. There are a lot of great hikes right in this area including a popular viewpoint hike called Munra Point. This recreation area is about 50 minutes from Lake Oswego if traffic is light.

My story:

Unfortunately traffic West on the I-84 was incredibly dreadful, which made correcting our directional mistakes extremely stressful. Getting to Elowah and Upper McCord Creek Falls was a challenge as the directions provided to us by Google Maps were extremely vague.

This is what inspired me to write this post.

Follow I-5 to the I-84 and take exit 35. Turn left and get onto highway 30 or the Columbia Scenic Highway. From there, you will see what looks like the end of the 30 (it leads back onto the 84 for a bit). If you’ve passed this you’ve gone too far. You should see a car parking lot before the 84 picks back up. Park here and this is the trailhead.

From this trailhead, you can enter part of the PCT, Upper McCord Creek trail, and Elowah Falls. The hike to Elowah falls and back is about 1.6 miles so it’s very short. That is why it is nice to have options to continue to the other trails from this trailhead.

Below is a picture of the 30 where we parked along the road.


The trail–surrounded by amazing firs.


And here is a picture of Cassi and I loving Elowah Falls.

This waterfall was very different from the others I have been exploring this Summer. Waterfall hikes are my favorite because I love to enjoy the water and practice my high intensity motion photography skills. Also, we brought Rayne (my 8 year old Border Collie) and he loves to run and play in the water.

Elowah Falls was HUGE. It was comparable to Multnomah moreso than other falls I’ve seen. This is a rather un-populated hike with a lot of space to take a lunch break. It’s hard to draw your eyes away from the vastness of this little hidden pocket.


Hopefully this might be helpful to someone. If not, I mainly use my blog to document for myself.

This was a fantastic day that ended with Eastwind Drive-in in CascadeLocks. This place is the BOMB with quick drive thru food options and awesome shakes and epic soft serve. Definitely go here if you drive through the locks.

Thanks for reading!


Summer 2016 Bucket List

It’s the official FIRST DAY OF SUMMER 2016!

What a joy my last month and a half have been back at home.

This year, my personal goal is to be more intentional every single day. Since starting college at Loyola Chicago, it seems to me that time has been flying by so fast! I’m especially reminded of this when I’m home and I drive by my old High School.

Last Summer, I felt as though I didn’t get to do all the things I wanted to because of work, or time, or this or that. Instead of letting that happen again, I created a bucket list of the things I want to accomplish during my Summer.

None of these “must do items” are hard to accomplish for me. Everything is very local and budget-friendly! Some items are as simple as trying a new restaurant, others are a hike or just a visit to mundane shopping destinations.

Nonetheless, this is my fortified Summer “must do” list.

 Summer 2016 in Portland Bucket List

  1. Create a reading list 
  2. Have Brunch at Salty’s 
  3. Hike: Opal Pool
  4. Hood River day trip with stops at Doppio Coffeeshop, Mike’s, and Full Sail Brewery 
  5. Willamette Jetboat tour √
  6. Finish START my Scrap Book
  7. Print new photos from study abroad and Loyola   √
  8. Hike: Munra Point
  9. Watch a sunset from the Skidmore Bluffs
  10. See the movie “Nerve”  √
  11. Tree-to-Tree Adventure park
  12. Antiquing at Stars with my Mom  √
  13. Oaks Park for old times sake 
  14. Try every Ice Cream shop in Portland 
  15. Eat at Apizza Scholls 
  16. Eat at Pine State Biscuits  √
  17. Do a hike on the Washington side
  18. Visit Leach Botanical Garden (the Portland Secret Garden)
  19. Go to the Drive-in on 99W
  20. Go to Salishan with the family  √
  21. Be able to run 5 miles without stopping

I hope that by sharing my Bucket List you may be inspired to go out and do some fun adventurous things this Summer! Don’t let time pass by before you get to do, see, experience the things you want to.

Life is too damn short.

Thanks for reading,


*Update: 12/22 complete as of 8/7/16

My start at Oregon Summer musings

PDX Post 1

Long time no write….I know, I know. The time since I’ve been stateside has just flown by (over a month since I’ve been home)! I have been living life happily and healthfully since Italy, but I still cannot fathom that it’s over.

My best friend Cassi (who studied in Prague) said it best when she said it feels like living in Europe was a dream. I wonder…was I ever even living in a wonderful and wild country like Italy? I am so lucky to say that I was.

Summer has been sweet. I am working three jobs that randomly landed in my lap. I am doing organizational management and office work at a massage therapy office, a law firm, and privately at individual client’s homes (tell your friends)!

Seriously I am in a strange place between thriving and feeling like I’m drowning. I love being busy and I do not do well with excessive down time. BUT, I also get caught up in the waves sometimes and I find that extremely unhealthy.

This Summer, I am a morning person. I am a runner. I am hard working. 
I am fun & wild & young. 

I am feeling the most "Cassie" I have ever felt.

Today is a gloomy and quiet day. I am happy to have finally found time to writr post because this is a way I can express myself and document my adventures.

I was especially motivated to finish my first Summer post after an amazing day yesterday. I got to hike with new friends and old, go on an awesome flight with my 2 best friends and boyfriend, and I finished the night off with Pub food and GOT with other friends. It was a social and delightful day.

When reconnecting  over Queen Anne sandwiches at the McMenamins near PSU, my friends and I got really inspirational and hilarious. My friend Shannon is so incredibly poised and intriguing (plus… I am hoping she’ll start a podcast). Her creativity inspired me to get back into my writing post-study abroad.

My friend Victoria is so tech savvy its intimidating. I’ve known her since we were tots and she’s so so cool! It was so nice getting to see her happy and flourishing. She does what she wants and does it so damn well. These girls rock & give me joy.

My best friend Cassi, who you’ve met on the blog before, joined us at dinner and for our GOT screening as well (even though she isn’t a fan). I don’t think I could do just 1 sentence on what she and my other close friends mean to me. Maybe I’ll do a blog post just for her on January 14th!


I am so thankful for all I have been given & the people who have supported me unquestionably….

My beloved Roman friends, those who welcomed me with open arms in Chicago, and my friends and family from Lake Oswego….

How can I show you my love and gratitude?

Note* this post is all over the place-but it is titled 
"Summer musings"


Cheers to more fun & adventure.


Winter cheer & memories

To start out my blog, I wanted to start by talking about my winter break. I flew home to Oregon in mid December after a busy and stressful finals week! I had a lot of hard labor intensive finals and on top of conquering those, I needed to pack up all my apartment items and store them somewhere  while I spend my semester abroad. The hard work payed off and I am really proud of my work this past semester. After all this chaos, I had an amazing time relaxing.  Below are a few highlights of my winter break.

I was the first of my hometown friends to arrive home. On December 16th I celebrated my 20th birthday with my family. We had dinner at Andina and ended the evening with a red velvet Nothing Bundt Cake.


A week later, Xavier arrived and we celebrated my birthday again (my loved ones spoil me!) by going to Piazza Italia. There, I got to order in Italian and get my first glimpse into what I was walking into later in the season when I started my adventure in Rome! Xavier and I got to finally take some nice pictures (as you can see below).

Additionally, Xavier and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary (we got together on 12.24.2012)! We are both so excited to continue to find joy and adventure together.


Christmas came around and it was fabulous! The family always starts the day the same. This year, I got up super early to make the family breakfast. It was my first try at cinnamon roll french toast bake! It was voted a 7/10 and for the first try I consider that pretty good! Then we opened gifts around the fire. I loved seeing my family open the gifts I got them! Later in the evening, my father made a fabulous 6 course dinner-which we do every year. Below, I posted one of my favorite dishes that he made: tomato, mozzarella, basil crostini. He also made a mushroom dish that was particularly amazing!

The rest of the break was equally great. After all the holiday festivities, it was nice to finally get to relax and spend time in the outdoors! My family and I enjoyed a couple hikes including the Wildwood trail in Forest Park and some trails in the Columbia River Gorge area!

Thank you to everyone who made my 20th birthday, 20th Christmas, 20th winter, and 20th year amazing! I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude for all the wonderful gifts of love I’ve received in my life.

Baci baci & Ciao mi amici