My name is Diana Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, writer, graphic designer and 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 enjoy traveling, home improvement projects, and gardening. This is a glimpse into my life and work.

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diana-elizabeth-photography-blog-blogger-vegas-girls-weekend-madame-tussauds-delano-ideas-what-to-see-clean-fun-travel-blogger-222Birds of a feather, flock together.

Is it possible to have a good, clean fun in Las Vegas and still have a relaxing rejuvenating time with girlfriends?  Absolutely!  Let me show you how we made it a fun girls weekend in Vegas.

After a THREE HOUR PLANE DELAY and two waiting lists only to get half of us called for one flight, we settled on our original flight that was late and somehow we were still smiling.  I think it’s because we were together so we didn’t care. Plus, there was an LGO and we filled our bellies there, twice.

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Why Vegas for us when we don’t party like Vegas is marketed?  First, we are beyond lucky that Jennifer is a VIP at a few hotels on the strip which means free hotel room and a few hundred in food allowance. Second, it’s close enough yet far away to feel like a vacation and thirdly, there’s something going on 24/7 so we can sleep in, find something to do and eat dinner around 9 pm.

Oh, and this time we had a gold limo waiting for us.

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We have arrived at Delano.  How to say it? DELL-UH-NO or DELL-ON-OH?  It’s like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, so DELL-UH-NO, formerly THEhotel.

Of course when you are just trying to pass through the lobby, random friendly strangers – men, want to take photos with you, what is that about?

Temporary metallic tattoos are so Vegas appropriate don’t you think?  I had a set sent to me for free in my monthly Ipsy bag subscription and had bought another set and kept them specifically for a Vegas or beach vacay.

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When it came to picking a restaurant, Jen pointed one option – House of Blues.  ”That looks loud,” both Melayne and I said in unison so we settled on a cute farmhouse style restaurant.

The first morning – coffee at the hotel lobby of Delano.  We knew Starbucks was around the corner, but let’s be real, if you’re a coffee snob like I am (or you are from Phoenix and you know what good coffee is), you know you only go to Starbucks because of convenience or it’s the only thing around.  If you stay at the Delano, go to their coffee bar, it’s amazing!

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It’s also very pretty too.  They also serve veggie and fruit juices, the beet juice is yummy and the croissant breakfast sandwich is filling and hits the spot.

Oh, it was March Madness time, and yes, the Wildcats won against Ohio State!

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Titanic: Artifact Exhibition

We had plans before we left Phoenix that we wanted to see the Titanic The Artifact Exhibition at Luxor.  Cost is $32, and you should pay the $5 extra for audio. Tip: Walk the strip and you can score a $5 coupons on the bridge overpasses.  Or pick up the Vegas tourist books – they have $5 off for the Bodies The Exhibition too (which is equally amazing).  Back to Titanic – if you are a party of two, you can share a single audio to save money.  You can also do 3 attractions for $57.

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Photos aren’t allowed inside the exhibit so we walked really slow and listened to our audio tour.  We were given boarding passes which were replicas of boarding passes of passengers that were on the Titanic.  We walked through third, second, and third class passenger cabins and saw the actual part of the Titanic.  There’s a part where I cried – the quotes of passengers and what they said about making the choice to leave their husbands or father’s behind or the sound of what it was like when they were in the boats.

At the end of the tour they list the survivors of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd class and crew that survived and ones that did not on a memorial wall.  700 made it, 1500 did not.  Remember the reason there were not a lot of survivors were the lack of emergency life boats.

Dinner at miX

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I don’t know who that guy was who took our photo but he certainly knew about photography because he got down on his knees and took those above photos we were impressed!

Dinner on the top floor of Delano – miX which is also part club/bar area too, they are somewhat connected if you pass through the kitchen – but don’t be fooled, it’s very quiet and posh in this restaurant with a spectacular view of the strip.

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For some reason we were served complimentary dessert that said Happy Birthday, we then made it an inside joke.

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This was outside miX in an area where you would normally get bottle service but somehow a nice man asked if we wanted to sit there. The view was so pretty and if you go, definitely check out the bathroom because it’s a ceiling to floor window of the strip and it feels weird because you wonder if anyone can see you but don’t worry, they can’t.

Mandalay Bay Pool

The next morning, pool time at Mandalay Bay which is the closest because Delano’s Beach is under construction (it’s a new hotel).  When one of your girlfriends can’t make it, you bring her head cutout.

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This area has a wave pool and a lazy river as you can see we sat – not our preference, but all that was available with 5 chairs in a row.

It was time to get ready for another night out.

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Getting ready in a bathroom with your girlfriends reminds me of college, and pageants.  Jen was downstairs doing her thing, gambling like she knows best!

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Then we headed to Madame Tussauds.  Tip: If you go on a Sunday night and get the Twilight special (buy it online only) which is $17 per person instead of $30. Either way, if you buy online ahead of time, you save 20%.

That chick in my personal space was Lindsay Lohan.

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Oh I love JLo, I think she is one of the most beautiful women in the world.

And I really love this guy, he’s my childhood hero – Go Niners! I’m from Nor Cal, it’s in my blood.

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The best photo of the night goes to Melayne and Brenna.

diana-elizabeth-photography-blog-blogger-vegas-girls-weekend-madame-tussauds-delano-ideas-what-to-see-clean-fun141Caption this: “No my man ain’t yo baby daddy!”

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I hope you can see both fingers ’cause I’m not flipping off the camera.  I was going to do the same symbol as Snoop Dogg until Brenna said “This way, like the Sun Devils pitch fork,” and well, being a Wildcat, that goes against my grain so I did a peace sign.

Then, there was Elvis.  Elvis makes me think of my dad, because he loves him! Young Elvis was so handsome wasn’t he?  This reminds me of my time in Graceland which was so fun! I should blog about that one day.

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This Elvis photo is my favorites.  Thanks Jen!

I have a true life Vegas story about this crazy head…

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Vegas 2008…

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A photo by Napkin Nights (not this one) appeared on TMZ.com – I found out because friends started texting me and I had no idea who he was, really! Moving on.

At the end of the Madame Tussaud’s museum, we watched a little 4D Marvel show – 4D means they shoot stuff at you like water and jab you while you are watching.  It’s similar to The Bug’s Life show at Disney.

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We ended that night with great Chinese food at Noodle Asia at the Venetian which was authentic and hit the spot for all of us.  I had the BBQ pork and duck on rice, and thinking about it is making me hungry.

We sat around and talked for an extra hour, then we walked around for gelato and sat down and talked for another hour – spilling our hearts, confessing stories, laughing, a little crying, but lots of support.  As Sommer said, it’s those kind of talks and transparency that connects souls.

The last morning…

diana-elizabeth-photography-blog-blogger-vegas-girls-weekend-madame-tussauds-delano-ideas-what-to-see-clean-fun147Blush Tote / Luggage / Panama Hat / Moto Jacket / Booties / Pants

We continually walked by Michael Jackson ONE show and there were 6 sequential shots of him that we wanted to do with each of us by the end of our trip – perfect hat? Panama hat by J.Crew.

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So long Vegas, it was great catching up with you.  Thanks for hosting memories for all of us and having all the fun entertainment and great food for a Vegas Girls Weekend!  Until next time!

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Thanks to my darling irreplaceable girlfriends who always make girl time fun and our conversations transparent that make me feel challenged and encouraged.  I love you girls so much, I love laughing and sharing happy and sad tears with you. Just going through life with each and every one of you is a gift and we are so very lucky to have each other. xx

Lifestyle, Personal, Southwest, Travel

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The kumquats are coming, the kumquats are coming!  Weeeeee! And when I pick them off, they also tend to come with some of the leaves.  Did you know kumquats (when producing correctly) produce year round?

I bought this Iceberg Rose breed from Whitfill and noticed in the sea of white and green, there were pink buds!  It was the only one with pink and white so I grabbed it and am excited to see that it continually blooms white and pink!

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I have five rose bushes/plants in my backyard.  I want more, but I want ones without thorns – note to self.  Cue: Every Rose has it’s thorn…

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This is Spanish Lavender below.

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We also have the sweet lavender elsewhere in our garden which does fantastic in the dessert and is much stronger of a scent.

Our newly planted Ash tree is growing, I need to add more fish fertilizer.

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My spring/summer garden bed veggies are slowly growing, but I still insist on going to the nursery one more time this month to pick up some more starters.

My friends at Black Gold Farm sent me a bag of their organic fertilizer.  Have you ever heard of the term “black gold”? I heard it from Benjamin who grew up on a farm and told me that pretty much is what farmers refer to as the best soil ever.  OK, so there’s much more to it, but that sums it up.  This 5 lbs bag is full of pure dried worm castings (remember that time I wanted to start a worm farm?).

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Garden gloves are for wussies.  Just kidding, I wear them but this time my manicure was already seeing its last days so I just decided to use my hands.  It doesn’t smell either.  Worms eat dirt, and they well, pretty much create/give back/poop better dirt.

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Did you know a single teaspoon of it will supply all the nutrients for a plant about 6″ tall for two months?

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You should know by now I don’t do much in moderation.  In this case this should last more than a few months.

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I hear high pitched squealing, oh it’s the neighborhood love birds.

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Just a few more garden sights around here.

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“Please let me run around,” begs Liberty.

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OK, only because you’re a good girl.

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Gardening, Home + Garden

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This is applicable to all smart phone users, not just iPhone.  I was asked by a girlfriend how I backed up images taken on my iPhone, this inspired a blog post.  I don’t put much emphasis on my iPhone photos but after I looked through my files I noticed so many of my dog Paris who is like a baby to me, so I would highly suggest having a way to keep your images saved somewhere if your iPhone were to get stolen, lost, or dropped in water with the inability to be retrieved.

Note: I know there are various methods, iCloud being one of them, but I love my Dropbox and this is my method.  If you have another method I would LOVE to hear it in the comments to help others.

What you need to know

  • Every single picture you take gets uploaded, screen shots, and downloaded/saved images.  If you delete it right away, it won’t recognize it and won’t upload.
  • You can delete the images on your phone knowing they have all been uploaded to Dropbox as long as on the App it doesn’t say there are any more images to be uploaded (read later in post).
  • You can easily access the images like you would if they were on your phone as long as you open up the Dropbox App
  • By having the Dropbox App installed on your iPhone, it will upload to the Dropbox “cloud” – HOWEVER if you download the Dropbox installer, it will also sync from the cloud to your desktop.  Basically:  iPhone –(app)—> Dropbox Cloud –(desktop instal)—> Computer desktop
  • Cost: Free, if you need more space, buy it.  I have 6,000 photos and plenty of room.

Getting Started

  1. Sign up for a Dropbox account here.
  2. Consider downloading the Dropbox program install (makes retrieving files easier from desktop than having to go to the site).
  3. Download the Dropbox App on your iPhone or any smart phone.

Dropbox App Set Up on Phone

When you open up the App on your phone, wherever you save it, you may see images from your phone already uploading – in my case anyway.

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If that isn’t the case, go to your camera settings.

Make sure “camera upload” is turned on.

Turn off “use cellular data” unless you want it instantly to upload after each photo – which would use up your data quickly.

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 On the Dropbox App it’s pretty much exactly what you’d see if you logged into your account on the site.

Your photos will be under “Camera Uploads” (Purple folder).

You can go back as far as you want with the images you have.  Mine go back to 2012!

When you access the files folder and the correct folder,  it will look like this:

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Computer View

If you download the installation for your desktop, you’ll see this pop up occasionally (if you are home).

This means files are being added.

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This is what it looks like if you see the icon and you can see what is being uploaded from your phone.  I would occasionally open the App on my phone to make sure images are being pushed through.  I’m not sure if that’s necessary, I don’t think it is because my images just seem to be uploaded.

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How to view your images

On your computer
You can then access your “camera uploads” folder which is synced by going to your finder or windows explorer and computer home screen to see the “Dropbox” file.

Tip:

  • A green checkmark means all files are synced
  • A blue arrow in a circle shape means files are syncing or being uploaded/updated

Or, you can go to the Dropbox.com site and log into your account and see them there and download it.

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On your smartphone
To restate what I said earlier, simply open up your Dropbox App on your phone and click your files.  All images will be in your Camera Uploads folder.

And just like that, all 6,000 smart phone images on my phone have been uploaded!  Even the bad ones…

What’s your method of saving images to your computer or cloud?

For Photographers, Photography

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I can’t count the years now, but I wish to say this is my fifth or sixth year in the NAPA Auto Parts Classics Calendar.  Every year or two, New York photographer Dan Lyons comes out to the Phoenix area to photograph classic cars, write and review them as well.  It’s been a great friendship we have over the years so I was happy to be asked to return.

Last time the weather was terribly rainy and cold I would wear my puffer jacket and throw it in the car while we shot for a few minutes.

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The drill is that ahead of time I know all of the car colors (or most anyway), and just bring all of my suitable dresses and jumpers.  I try not to do the top and bottom thing with a skirt and top as that complicates thing since my dressing room is actually my SUV on the side of the road.

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I put up a sunshade in the front, hang the dresses on the side for additional blocking and my windows are tinted.

I throw all shoes in a basket and in the car.  After all these years I have it down.

The Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren tank dress was just what I wore driving to the location.

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Some of these dresses I wore for the last time, a way I feel like I actually wore them even if it was just a second time ever.  I let my dear mother-in-law take her pick of some of the dresses that would fit her to take home.  The rest, Glam Garage Sale.

I need a bigger SUV by the way, my current one is what they call a cross-over, I guess that means mini SUV?  I want a bigger car not because I plan on shuttling people (or babies) around, but because I need something bigger for all my nursery and Craigslist purchases!

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In the current 2015 calendar I’m in there two months of the year – some might still have the calendar.

 

A few Classic Calendar inspired dresses:

Lifestyle, Personal

guest-room-leopard-print-cheetah-candle-pottery-barn-112Leather Key Chain: Crate & Barrel / Tissue Cover: Handmade / Bowl: Pottery Barn / Candle: Pottery Barn / Frame: Similar / Sheets: Simply Shabby Chic (similar)

It’s guest season, and we just had to say bye to mom and dad before more guests come in, and we are loving it. As long as our guests can handle our no shoe policy (and they always do), I can’t wait for friends and family to come in.  I realize I have yet to show you our guest/Benjamin’s home office room.

For now, I’ll show you a little corner because typically when it’s unused, the bed serves as Benjamin’s second desk and he piles all of his work all over the bed – this means he needs a bigger desk.  We’re working on it but he likes to save money.

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I found the cutest guest keychain at Crate & Barrel, I’ve been looking for one and when I came across it it made me so excited!  Also, this cheetah candle is the most divine smelling candle ever.  It’s musky, masculine, yet warm – my nose is very sensitive and I can tell immediately if a candle will make me feel sick.  It’s so beautiful one could use it as a pencil cup holder after the candle is gone!

I bought a few more touches to help guests feel comfy, like a luggage rack from Ballard Designs, and an over the door valet for clothes.

Real Simple magazine came out with a chart of the must-haves for a guest to feel comfortable and so I made my checklist.  I can say we’re pretty much there, but the dream would be to expand so we could have a dedicated guest room, though this can be tough because the reality is, is a dedicated guest room truly necessary?  I want all rooms to be used all the time, so it’s a tough thing for us to decide if it’s worth expanding our home for one. Just a fun thing to dream about!

Decor, Home + Garden

friendship-christian-accountability-friend-iron-sharpens-iron-proverbs-27-17Doors of Notre Dame de Paris

Happy Friday my friends!  I wanted to share what I’ve been going through these past few months and give so much credit to my circle of friends for being such good conscious people to help me through tough situations.

Sometimes we just need to run our life troubles by a good friend or two, or five – ones with a good conscious, perspective and wisdom on what to do.

Over the past few months I’ve been encouraged by my husband, closest friends and small group to react to difficult times or people in a loving way.  While I know what is right from wrong, there can be moments of weakness when I’m overcome with sadness, confusion or anger that I want to react in my own way, while knowing that action may escalate the problem - oh but it would feel oh so good for that split second, right?  

These girlfriends of mine are like little angels sitting on my shoulder outnumbering the little devil on my other shoulder -my flesh.

And sometimes, it’s roll reversal and it’s my turn to be even tempered.

In times like these, these friends save me from myself!  They look at the circumstance as an outsider and find a better way for me to react, to resolve the conflict, or just a prayer or few words of encouragement to allow me to let it be.  Sometimes when I don’t want to be the bigger person, or I know I should be, or I’m tired of being it – they bring me back to being one.

It’s that feeling you want when you call a girlfriend and you kinda of want her to agree with you and say, “Yeah! That’s horrible, do this back!” – like gas that fuels the fire – but the truth is I don’t get that reaction and deep down I’m SO grateful.  What I want is to do the right thing, even when it’s hard.

The thoughts I decided to keep to myself and react on my own, I terribly wish I had only asked for counsel, or took a walk around the block.  Those situations turned ugly are now filed under “life lessons learned” but I’d like that file to be fewer – even if I think I’m in the victim/in the right, there’s no better feeling in knowing that you handled the situation in a way that would be pleasing, and honoring to God.

Let’s surround ourselves with good people with good thoughts that will help us react better to the bad times – and let’s be that person back so we can make the world a much better place for all of us.

Lifestyle, Personal

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You can tell I’m just itching to get outside every day – I’m eating my dinner on the patio enjoying the sound of birds chirping and bees making their way home to the hive.  I love to spruce up the garden with little touches of personality and revive my garden tools, if needed.  Here are some things I already own and some I have my eyes on –  most around $15-$20, all under $60.

Garden Decor

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Aged Iron Bird Feeder / Geometric Lattice Pot / Terracotta Mushroom Set
Garden Rabbit Rock / Garden sign /Animal Garden Sculpture

I had galvanized mushrooms but they disappeared after we had our roof done, I think they got accidentally scraped up with the old roof since they are untypical garden decor.  I have a thing for bunny garden decor naturally, but I love that you can finally have them in your garden without them destroying anything.  I have the old rabbit in a tractor garden sculpture but the carrot car is pretty dang cute too.

Fashionable Gardener

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Garden Boots / Sommerset Hat / Leather & Linen Garden Gloves

While I own three Hunter wellies, my favorite are floral ones from Target that I can slip easily in and out of.  I’ve linked to a similar pair from Target, I guarantee they will be the ones you wear the most.  The Sommerset hat from Terrain has SPF in it – naturally because of how tightly woven it is.  My garden gloves need to be refreshed so I like finding a fun pair to keep me through the next year.

The Gear

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Popup Tote Bag / Fish Fertilizer / Pruning Shears
Seed tin / Tubtrug (various colors) / Galvanized Bin

We have two of the popup totes from Target – one red and one green.  They fold down easily for storage and you can fasten a lawn bag inside for easy disposal.  It’s so lightweight I drag mine all around and throw in clippings.  The best fertilizer is the fish fertilizer you mix with water, it smells horrible but it works so well.  The Chinese put a fish at the bottom of a newly dug hole right before they transplant a new tree – so they are onto something!  I have owned three of these shears – I keep misplacing them so I get a new one.  I have an old antique box for my seeds but this tin one is so cute.  We have the Tubtrug in yellow and it’s amazingly durable – great to load with grapefruits or anything heavy, it’ll hold up!  I also own two of the galvanized bins from Walmart. I put a few bags of fertilizer in it and drag it around my yard, super durable and super adorable too!

Do you have favorite garden supplies or gear you buy every season?

{Photo by Melissa Schollaert}

Gardening, Home + Garden

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