My name is Diana Elizabeth. I'm a journalist, photographer, graphic designer and FORD model who had memorable days reporting from the LA red carpet for E! Online. I love sharing my life as a creative professional and the things that I discover along the way - with camera in hand.

My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I love traveling, home improvement projects, sewing, gardening, and John Mayer and Twilight. This is a glimpse into my life and work.

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“Beverly Hills, that’s where I want to be!” Oh that Weezer song, those catchy little tunes!  This past weekend, I headed to LA for a quick overnight trip for a social media seminar.  Melayne drove up from Newport to hang out on Saturday.  Little did I know or remember Whitney Houston had over dosed at the Beverly Hilton.  Aside from that, when I lived in LA long ago I drove by always wondering what it looked like inside and 10 years later I finally had an excuse to be a guest.  I was however not thrilled by the $40 overnight parking that I couldn’t get around (even for Diamond Members).  Oh, LA.

As soon as I arrived Melayne and I headed to downtown LA for the Renegade Craft Fair which I first heard about in Martha Stewart. It was pretty much an Etsy in real life!  Imagine the best curated artisans right in person.  They have multiple fairs across the city so check out the site to see if there are any dates coming to you.

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I wasn’t in the market for anything until I came across this 22kt gold over brass cuff with turquoise from a faraway place by Tibet. I have tiny delicate wrists so I was thrilled that this was sized just for me!

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Now this is an idea I wish I came up with - book journals!  Old books that are now filled with lined pages and spiral bound!  We laughed over this one… You could write your crazy thoughts in here woman!  Only $14!

There are about 75 blank pages with a few pages of the original book which make it like a subject notebook.  So so darling.  You could probably find some special covers for a themed gift.

I saw this and immediately said, “This is me!”  Then Melayne brought up a great point – it looked like a journal, less book. I should really go for a book cover!

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I thought this one was perfect – I’m a bit country and a bit of a city girl. *wink*  I swear I battle between them both – I look like a city girl and I love it, but my heart yearns for the country.

Of course now the issue is this totally country looking book doesn’t fit in my glam office.  Perhaps I’m not as country as I think.

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Then it was time for the best coffee – I love vanilla blended – I always pick one up after I stop in to see my agents to pick up any checks from work I’ve done since there’s one in Scottsdale. In LA, they are on nearly every corner like a Walgreens, so lucky!  The only downside is no room for drivethrus!

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I also got to see my long time girlfriend Maayan (who had visited me over New Years) to meet up for dinner and she invited her girlfriend Joanna.  We ate at Craig’s, the food was delicious!  Rumor has it George Clooney went there for dinner to celebrate his engagement.  Then again, go to any place in LA and there’s some celeb story, they are people and they have to eat I suppose.

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Back at the hotel…

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The next morning I attended The Creative Residency, which had 14 attendees and was hosted by Justina Blakeney and Dabito.  I cannot even put into words how nice it was and how much I love them both.  Justina was just everything kind and lovely, and beyond funny and down to Earth. She was authentic and I can’t sing her or Dabito praises enough – follow their blogs you will be inspired!

Also, if you are into learning more about your social media or branding, check out their site for exclusive seminars. You have to apply to get accepted – they make sure you are the cream of the crop!

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Do you like my jumpsuit?  It’s from the Kardashian Kollection! See the pant version here.  I’m also dying over this denim jumpsuit here.  I’m in an XS but the top was too low cut – not surprised so I added a camisole from Express in size small under it.

I love jumpsuits, even if it’s a pain to go to the bathroom.

Diana Elizabeth took the selfie of the outfit in a bathroom.

Life, Travel

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“Oh my gosh where did you get these sheets?  They’re like butter!” I exclaimed as soon as I prepared to crawl into bed.

“Walmart I think,” she said, “They are sheets by Mia Hamm.”

Melayne had just moved into her condo in Newport Beach and everything was new.  Every time I visit we sleep with the window open, because that’s how California weather is, just perfect.

I can’t sleep hot which is a struggle this summer. I would love the cooling and heating mattress but instead of paying $2,000, I figured a $70 sheet investment would do right now.  However, this doesn’t mean you still won’t get hot sleeping in these sheets when it’s 100 degrees outside, but I think these should make sleeping much more comfortable and cooler than average cotton bedsheets.

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It feels like a silky jersey sheet – the kind of softness workout clothes are made out of.  The Breathe Bedding is a polyester sheet set and claims to regulate the temperature of your body and deliver evenly balanced air circulation.  It’s also wrinkle-resistant and stretches over deep mattresses!  I always thought cotton was something mandatory for allowing your skin to breathe but the company claims it allows your skin to breathe more efficiently than cotton sheets.

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Breathe Bedding Sheet Set, $50-$70, Walmart in blue, grey, sand + white

If they are out of stock online, you can find them at your nearest Walmart, just do free store pickup.  The next morning after the first night we slept with the new sheets Benjamin said, “I LOVE the sheets!” and he swears he felt so much cooler.  Win!

By the way, this was not a sponsored post, I just got really excited about these sheets and thought you would like them too!

Diana Elizabeth wants to get the sheets for the guest room too!

Home

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The trendy thing to do in Phoenix during the summer is not what you may think (stay indoors and do a get out of dodge trip) but rather – stay in town and do a staycation!  The rates at hotels are cheap, there are many spa discounts, and you can use someone else’s AC to cool off!  Out on newsstands now is PHOENIX magazine’s summer Staycation guide featuring the Valley’s best staycation offers.

Last month before I headed to France I shot at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale this lovely FORD model Daniela Lazar who stayed the night in her Jeep before our shoot!  She came in town from San Diego and forgot her house keys and was a trooper and slept in her car with the windows cracked – and she looked like this the next day.

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Isn’t she darling?  I was crazy about this one piece!

The requested look was Old Hollywood glam, so with the help of Lizzy Marsh, we nailed it.  You may notice the heavy composition with lots of margin space – when you shoot editorial you always take a step back for the page bleeds and leave plenty of room at the top for story headlines and potential cover option.

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I love this shot below.  A reflector was used to bounce the light back onto her and I love how different it makes her look.

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PHOENIX magazine’s lovely intern Cierra came along and created this sweet video of the behind the scenes.  Watch me in action and see what it’s like to shoot for a magazine! On mobile, click here.

If you pick up the issue, peek at the contributors, you can see a sweet writeup about me written by intern Garrett.

Model Daniela Lazar from FORD/RBA for PHOENIX magazine.  Shot at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale.

{Makeup and hair: Lizzy Marsh}

Diana Elizabeth started the shoot a little after 8 in the morning to avoid the heat and intense sun.  

Photography, Portfolio

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Have you heard of open glass lockets, or living lockets?  They typically are filled with small flat charms to symbolize the things you love but I wanted to try something different.  The necklace has a strong magnetic closure so items can easily be changed out.

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The packaging the locked arrived in was sweet.

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I have always been fond of lockets, so when I was browsing the personalized gift items from UncommonGoods, I saw this fillable open glass locket and was intrigued.  Think of all the things you could put in it – a little sand and small seashells from the beach, a small flower from your favorite field…  My mind was swirling with ideas for it - items different than small charms that bounce around and something everyone could see without having to open the locket.  I Googled ideas and read some put a piece of their wedding dress and flowers from their bouquet – good idea if I had known about this years ago!  I decided not to go with my dad’s suggestion of a bug (very funny dad), and text my girlfriend Kate for help.

Liberty London fabric?” she text back.

Winner winner chicken dinner.

I ironed on interface fabric to make the very delicate Liberty London fabric a bit more study, then cut out a circle.

Then I went through family photos and later found myself sobbing hysterically on the living room floor over how much I miss my parents, being small, and California.  I found a cute shot of my little brother and my parents when we were in Hawaii.  Don’t ask me where I was, probably standing next to my grandma who was taking the photo.  I figured the photo was perfect, if I had me in it I’d probably cry every time I looked at the photo – I’m in one of those highly sentimental family moods as of lately.

glass-locket-uncommon-goods-5 glass-locket-uncommon-goods-4 Open Glass Locket from UncommonGoods, $49

I love the modernness and simplicity of it. What a sweet gift too – if you’re looking for a unique selection of modern anniversary gifts, visit the site’s products which is sorted by year.

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With every purchase made, UncommonGoods donates $1 to a non-profit of your choice.   Since they started giving 12 years ago, over $700,000 has been donated to charities around the world.  You can also take a peek into their creative studio and check out UncommonGoods site for more fun gifts for you or someone else.

Thanks UncommonGoods for sponsoring this post.

Style

Sometimes I get annoyed with Netflix’s limited movies while other times I’m surprised when I find something good.  When I was back home with my parents adjusting to their no cable lifestyle, I had to poke around a bit on Netflix.  I love PBS 45 minute documentaries on castles but I also found some great movies.

I feel as though I successfully tackled an impossible situation so I had to share!

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Last Love

Last Love is about a friendship between a recent widowed American man living in Paris who meets a young Parisian woman who changes his view on a life he dislikes. Verdict: First I have to say it’s not like they fall in love, that may be the first thought when you see the poster.  You all know I adore France and the movie is beautifully set in Paris which is of course nice. It is a sad movie, but it reminded me to be kind to everyone, and to extend a friendship to those we may first think we have nothing in common with.   View trailer here.

Maidentrip

Maidentrip is a true story filmed by a 14 year old Dutch girl who goes on a voyage to sail around the world for two years on her own.  Verdict: I wasn’t as brave or capable as her to travel the world on my own, nonetheless drive a car on the road!  She does have a little bit of a sailor’s mouth – it’s not crazy but she might slip once every 30 minutes, just a warning if you have sensitive ears like mine.  This has won several awards including Best Feature by the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival. She speaks in English and Dutch. View trailer here.

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is a governess (woman hired in a home to teach children) with an interesting upbringing as an orphan.  She meets her employer, Mr. Rochester and falls in love with him but finds something about his past.  Verdict: If you like Pride and Prejudice, this is your movie.  Also if you are a fan of Downton Abbey like I am, the views of this movie is gorgeous.  View trailer here. It’s not scary like the preview looks.

The Saratov Approach

The Saratov Approach is based upon a true story – two LDS missionaries are kidnapped and held for random in Russia.  Verdict: Even though I’m not LDS, it made me think about my own faith and how I would handle it.  Those young men were brace!  Acting is decent, any movie based upon a true story is worth watching in my opinion.  View trailer here.

 

Do you have any suggested movies to watch that’s available on Netflix?  I’d love to know!

Diana Elizabeth and Mr. Wonderful and I totally got addicted to Battlestar Galactica last summer.  Just watch one episode and see if you don’t get hooked!

Life

IMG_1643_edited Kayaking down the Russian River in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Saturday was a perfect day to spend in Nor Cal.  I sat in the front of the kayak with my eyes closed and felt the cool gentle breeze blow against my face.  I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin – the sound of the water, birds, I took life in.  I tend to do that when I’m on vacation, traveling brings out a whole different side of me, I become more peaceful, relaxed, and appreciative.  A little confession – I’ve gotten tired of seeing the same boring things, I’ve had it!  So being home in California where I took nearly everything for granted, well, I’m going to enjoy it to its fullest!

Dad planned an awesome two hour trip kayaking through River’s Edge.  You can rent a canoe or a kayak – I’d say go the kayak route.

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What a view for a Saturday, eh?  These photos don’t do it justice, I swear to you it was just as lovely as can be.

Hey, mom and dad!

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While we were too busy smiling for a selfie…

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Just like that, mom and dad passed us!  Look at them go!

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I did row, just a little – for this photo.

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This is when I laid back, eyes closed, and thanked God I was back home.  And that little bit of skin exposed created the most awesome ankle tan which compliments my South of France boat tan.

I thought this looked like an Abercrombie ad, these young boys in this metal canoe.

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You had to row a bit before you got headwind downstream which would make it a bit difficult if you didn’t make it back before 3 pm – the river closes at 5:30.  The person in back is the captain and steers the kayak, while the one up front is…sitting pretty?

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There are parts where you must get out and drag your canoe or kayak across because the water is too shallow.  Mr. Wonderful helped my mom and dad.  We tried to pull the kayak while I was still sitting in it but I suppose even in one inch of water that doesn’t work, and I’m not that light so I had to hop out and get my feet wet.

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Then I said, “Let’s take pictures!”

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Then we hopped back into our kayaks and kept rowing.

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To when we saw the finish line, the bridge!  I love this photo.

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If you decide to go tips:

  • The water is shallow, you will most likely be able to stand if you fell in – only some parts are a bit deeper but if you know how to swim, you’ll be fine.
  • There’s little chance you’ll flip unless you run right into a tree at a turn – they tell you to put your weight forward so you don’t tip.  It works.
  • Wear sunblock all over your legs or long pants like I did – dad and Benjamin got burned on their knees. Remember you will be out there for 2 hours!
  • It’s not as hard or bad as you think, super relaxed.  Of course, I didn’t do much work, haha!
  • The Russian River is class one which means, it’s weak sauce, and you can handle it!

Diana Elizabeth’s dad loves to plan adventurous activities, he’s quite active.  He also joked Benjamin went too fast that he felt obligated to catch up and afterwards he was super sore!

Life, Travel, West Coast

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These giant zucchini’s and I have something in common.  We’re both California grown!  Here I am at our neighbor’s home back home in Nor Cal, showing off some of his garden finds.  Steve has become a friend of my parents and they talk about him and his garden often.  I finally had the chance to take a peek and loved what I saw!

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Pretty lemon cucumber, right?  I thought my dad’s colorful Hawaiian shirt would be a great backdrop.

Can you see Steve?  He was hidden within the lush tomato vines and tossing tomatoes to my dad.

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Just beautiful!  There are a lot of potted flowers to attract the bees to pollinate.

I learned that when you clip basil, you should put it in water immediately – so have a can of water next to you as you harvest to prevent the basil from wilting.

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I think dad looked like he won a pageant and the basil was his winning floral bouquet.  Look what Steve sent us home with!

Oh, and this photo, was completely Steve’s idea, I think he should come with me on my shoots.

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Diana Elizabeth ate those tomato cherries as a snack one morning.  Add a basil leaf and you’ve got an even more fun snack!

Home

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Enjoy a sweet morning in a peach orchard at Schnepf Farms.

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Time to make some peach pies!  Thanks Schnepf Farms for your hospitality!  Models: Julie + Amaya Read for PHOENIX magazine.

Equipment used: Canon 5D Mark III + battery grip / 50mm f/1.2L / 35mm f/1.4L / UNDFIND One Bag + Bloom Theory Strap / Hufa Lens Cap Clip + Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket

Diana Elizabeth thinks families should hire a photographer for lifestyle experiences such as these, what a great way to document a fun sweet time!

Photography, Portfolio

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Do you have a small closet?  Our home was built in 1952 so my answer is yes.  Mr. Wonderful uses the guest room (also his office) closet and we also utilize dresser drawers for other clothes.  The hallway closet holds all of our coats, I am so happy that I was able to give many away and downsize.  The “DI” in blue rhinestones was a gift from my sweet Nicole many years ago, it makes me happy just to see it.  The photo is my mom in a frame, she is actually hiding the electrical panel, but I like seeing my mom every day, Hi Mom!

I took a day to reorganize my closet and thought I’d share some space sharing tips and how to have fun with a small space.

Use thin uniform hangers

If anything, a little OCD is highly rewarded if you use uniform hangers, it makes things look cleaner.  I used to have pink wood velvet hangers but they wouldn’t fit in this tiny closet so I left them at my townhome.  These thin velvet hangers are by Real Simple (similar).  If I were to do it over again, I’d order the beige color because lighter colors make spaces look bigger. If you want a fun closet, try these hot pink heart hangers - these would be great for a fun gift or special items you want to hang!

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Use a board to make a shelf

I use metal shelf dividers (similar) and found a board leftover from a project and placed it on top to hold more purses.  You can pick one up at Home Depot and they will cut it to size for you.  I am now using all the space overhead that I can.

Do you use dust bags for your purses?  You should, especially if you live in a dusty state like Arizona!  Designer purses always come with one and you should always use them, take care of your investments!

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I also use metal shelves – also can be found in the kitchen section of stores and I put my shorts above my folded camisoles.

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I decided to fold my scarves on the shelf instead of clipping them to hangers.

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Use the space behind the door

Not to waste any space, I use this over the door shoe rack - this one holds more shoes I might need to get it one day.  These are not all my shoes, I actually have a ton in our laundry room which varies depending on the season.

Right now boots are stored away and all my wedges, flats and flip flops which I wear regularly right now are in our mudroom.

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Make shelf space if necessary

We have a great handyman named Dennis who does a lot of work for us.  I wanted a built in dresser like area with a shelf.  The basket is holding all necessary travel goodies, travel slippers, pillow, blanket, pills, tons of see-thru zip bags and shoe bags.  I love bags, I should probably get rid of some but I’m a bag hoarder.  If you ever opened up my luggage you would just see everything in bags.

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The shelf is great to leave my panama hat undisturbed and a few cute umbrellas.

Install hooks everywhere you can

These petal hooks are from Anthropologie.

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See this hidden hook?

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Use baskets to store unattractive items

I call tennis shoes unattractive because they don’t fit my lifestyle.  I rarely wear them so I put them in a little basket around the corner away from eyesight.  For things you don’t use that often, it’s OK to put it out of sight.

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Have bags + boxes for donations

When I organize my closet I prepare a box ready for a girlfriend to send her some goodies.  I also have to admit – I had those shirts I kept grabbing out of convenience and I hated that I wore so often – so I would just force myself to get rid of it so I couldn’t wear it anymore!  If you have items like that, I support you in self control and releasing it so you aren’t caught dead wearing it ever again!

Other bags are for donations – preferably hospice stores or the Salvation Army.  As much as I enjoy shopping at Goodwill for the bargain, I prefer to send my donations to charitable places so nonprofits can get money to support the good they do.  If you live in Phoenix I recommend the White Dove Thrift Shoppes which belong to the Hospice of the Valley.

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Add a fun rug

Just because your closet is small doesn’t mean you can’t fit a 2×3 rug inside just for fun!  You can also place your wedges on top if you want to keep your carpet clean.  We are a no shoe wearing home.

Machine washable leopard print indoor/outdoor rug: Madison at Main (c/o).  It’s the small things that can make you happy even if it’s a small space.

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Choose what gets hung and what is folded

Right now it’s hot and it’s swimsuit season so my swimwear is hung.

I choose to fold:

  • Tees, camis, leggings
  • Non fashionable items (basics)
  • Sweatshirts

I choose to hang:

  • Lovelier things that make me want to grab them.
  • Jeans. I used to fold them but after I visited Seven for All Mankind at Kierland Commons, I liked the way they were displayed in the store that I rushed home to hang mine by their belt loops.  You can see them behind my swimsuits.

I know if I see my closet full of pretty things – my eyes go straight to my hangers, I’ll feel better about what’s in my closet and not feel as though my wardrobe is boring.

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Label your shelves

When you see where things are, it is kind of a “no duh” of what it is.  But, I read in a magazine that just having labels will help you sort things faster – and help your husband know where things go.  I also can look at a shelf and say to myself, OK, that’s enough basic tees, or that’s enough camisoles.  My OCD side loves the labels!

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Store out of season items

Because my closet is small, I prefer to switch out my seasons.  It also works well because every time I pack up or unpack a season I can look at every piece of clothing and ask myself if it’s something that should go back into my closet or be donated.  I keep my out of season things in plastic bins under the bed and my boots are stacked in the hallway closet.  I also purged many boots after realizing I was a boot hoarder.

I hope this inspires you to clear out your closet, donate or sell items, have a garage sale, or bless a friend who needs your things more than you do!  I think of a tiny closet as a tiny purse, don’t overload it!

Diana Elizabeth will now probably go back through her closet and thin it out even more.  The feeling of being lighter is always good and the 20/80 rule applies – you probably wear 20 percent of your closet 80 percent of the time.

Home

IMG_1573_edited “There are no wrong turnings.  Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.” – Guy Gavriel Kay

I spent 10 days back home in Northern California with my parents, old high school friends – enjoyed the cooler weather (except for that one horrific day it was 107!), escaping the Phoenix heat.  While I imagine being home will be nothing but sleeping in and being in my sweats, I found myself busy with a schedule overload and unable to see some friends I hoped – next month we’ll try again.

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Do you live in your hometown?   If you don’t live in your hometown, every time you return do you realize just how much you’ve changed?  I still reminisce about moving home as I did last fall, after all those years growing up swearing I would never move back again because the country was so boring.  OK, Granite Bay really isn’t country-country but it is less city, more quaint, and a lake town – with 10 rated schools.  A definite perfect place to grow up and settle down – yes mom and dad, you were right and the move from Sacramento was a positive change that shaped the rest of my life.

Although it has been said that the idea of being home is much more glamorous than the reality of being home – so I’m sure visiting is more suitable.

I saw my college buddy Paris who I gifted to my parents before I moved to LA.  I always thought I’d come get him again but he bonded with my dad that I think he needed to stay, but I miss him so much.

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Mom gave me some of my late grandmother’s Chinese ornaments – I think they will be lovely on my mini pink tree I display in my office.  I remember hanging these up when I was a little girl.  This was my bunch, my brother gets a few as I fairly split them up.

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Took my parents out for dinner to TGIFridays, they were thrilled.  Aren’t they the cutest? I had a yummy buttery steak, so did dad, and mom had lobster and salmon – handcrafted goodness.

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One night I hung out with some of my closest high school girlfriends.  In high school, our little group was called the Mod Squad, named by Mr. P.  It stuck.  We had colors – red and black.  It was just a fun little thing we called ourselves, you know, you do that when you’re 16.  Now on the GroupMe App which we use to message everyone, we’re called ABCD Mod Squad- April, Becky, Carrie and Diana.

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Becky grilled on her patio for us, I though it was so cute – and ended up being so delicious I had to snap a photo of the marinated chicken and halved peaches.  I overdosed on produce when I was back home, I should have turned into a nectarine or plum!

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We ate dinner on Becky’s parent’s wedding dishes – so Anthro, right?  Carrie proceeded to cut her chicken so nicely so I took a photo of her dish instead of mine.  She was proud.

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Good chit-chats and a suggestion to take a nice evening stroll sounded perfect.  I made a new friend – he’s green.

I don’t know why, but I am convinced if praying mantises were an ethnicity, they would be Asian because I think they are going to karate chop and do some tai chi.  That also reminds me I planted two praying mantis eggs in our garden late spring and never saw the little guys around.  I love way they look, I think they are so beautiful.

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Time with home girls who have known me since I was 11 are just the type of girls who allow you can completely be yourself – even if you revert back to being 14.  I swear I haven’t changed much, I still jump into conversations completely unaware of what was said before (I should have been listening but I rarely do), and I make them repeat stuff.  We laugh, we have the same habits, but yet we’ve changed.

California is having a little drought going on right now, hence some dryness.  This little squirrel was barking at me, not happy I was taking his photo and then I got a flashback of the Griswold Christmas tree scene and decided I would not coax him to come closer.

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How I feel about being home?  Hip, hip…

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We talked about life, relationships, babies, and our parents – mainly about how we are hearing about wills and how to handle life after death, a completely different stage in life that none of us really thought about.  I think during our walk I listened more than I talked.  I was taking everything in, the sights, the feeling of just being.

Diana Elizabeth extended her upcoming trip back home next month by two days, just like that. 12 days is much better than 10.  She can probably bear Arizona summers the more often she’s gone!

Life

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