Nicole Zangara: Author of ‘Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’

Nicole Zangara
twitter.com/ZangaraNicole

Nicole Zangara was feeling uneasy about some of her friendships. She went through what many women in their 20’s and 30’s experience — sudden drop-offs in friendships, with little explanation. Inspired to figure out just what makes female friendships so complex, she started writing down her thoughts. Within a few months, she had the beginnings of a book that was published last year by Chandler-based Brighton Publishing, called “Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” The book is a collection of Zangara’s own experiences related to female friendships, as well as vignettes the 29-year-old Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Scottsdale resident gathered from about 25 women of all ages. Read on for how writing the book affects Zangara’s views of friendships today, and keep scrolling to watch a video of her sharing her five favorite things about living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I have lived in a lot of places. I grew up in Massachusetts, went to college in D.C., went to graduate school in St. Louis, and then moved to Houston for a post-graduate fellowship at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Even though I had a great group of friends in Houston, one day I had this aha moment of, “What am I doing here?” I didn’t live near my family, which is very important to me. One of my brothers lives out here, and over the years, my family would come in November for Thanksgiving. I made the decision to move here and came in 2012. Continue reading

Maria Vassett: Owner of Maria Vassett Photography

Maria Vassett, owner of Maria Vassett Photography, photographed at her home in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Maria Vassett, owner of Maria Vassett Photography, photographed at her home in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Maria Vassett
facebook.com/MariaVassettPhotography

Maria Vassett has an extremely challenging day job. As a clinical service liaison for EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center for the past year and a half, the 46-year-old Tempe resident works with more than 25 families at a time as the contact between the families and agencies such as Child Protective Services and Division of Developmental Disabilities, and schools and other agencies involved with the team. In her free time, though, Vassett is able to get her creative juices flowing, as a photographer for everything from concerts to boudoir shots, having shot for everyone from Phoenix New Times and The Arizona Republic to US Airways and Jose Cuervo — including more than 300 concerts. Vassett, a veteran in the local music industry, also has managed bands and helped open Clubhouse Music Venue, among other exploits, and is now part of Pita Jungle‘s rotating photography series. She talked about her passions for helping people and capturing precious moments, and keep reading to hear five reasons why she loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents brought me here when I was 2. I was born right outside of San Francisco in Walnut Creek. I went to Pueblo and Mohave for elementary school and Saguaro High School in Scottsdale. I graduated from ASU with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. Continue reading