My name is Diana Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, writer, graphic designer, model, and former journalist who had memorable days reporting from the LA red carpet for E! Online. This is where I share my life daily, as a creative professional.

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, sewing and gardening. This is a glimpse into my life and work and the things that I discover along the way - with camera in hand.

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I think there are a few ways you can instantly find gratitude where you may have overlooked it in every day life.

Nothing will make you more thankful to be alive than when you almost die.  Just ask my dad who wasn’t supposed to survive terminal lymphoma cancer and was in stage 4.

I also think nothing will make you appreciate a good thing until you experience a bad thing, like treasuring what you currently have.

And sometimes, when you go to the same places in your every day life but you bring someone there for the first time, you are discovering your city again and you come to realize, you live in a pretty awesome place.

I am compelled to one day sit down and jot down my favorite places to shop and eat as if I were planning someone’s day visiting Phoenix for the first time! *wink*  Until then, consider this a preface guide to Phoenix.

Bruschetta at Postino

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The bruschetta at Postino is a mix of indulgence with refreshing- you can’t go wrong with any of the choices!  It’s a former post office, now wine bar, hence the blended name, Postino.  There are a few locations across the valley.

Rustic finds at Rust & Roses

A stop into Rust & Roses, one of my favorite repurpose home stores is incredibly rustic and charming.  That little trailer back there I have photographed Jessi Colter in it, widow of Waylon Jennings.  That reminds me, I need to share that image it was from about four or five years ago but very fun!

I also am now wanting to make those fabric bunt flags for an upcoming shower I have. Don’t look Brenna!

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Now I’m inspired by some beautiful pillows.  Summer is coming, it might be time for me to get cracking on some crafty projects since I’ll be either on a plane or indoors to avoid a little heat wave.

Eating at Desoto Central Market

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Desoto Central Market is now open to the public.  I think of it as an open market with popup shops – like a fancy, posh, hip food court.  I was able to check it out before it opened and I love Tea & Toast, Co., featuring Teaspressa - this is my favorite drink, the Cape Town which tastes amazing hot or cold and has no caffeine.  Not that it matters but I did drink two of them in addition to one that did have caffeine that was equally amazing called London Fog and had a hint of lavender.

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Soon they will also have small pop up stores in the middle area but for right now it’s food.  The Mayor of Phoenix was in attendance and gave a nice speech.

Breakfast and coffee at Chestnut

Chestnut is a favorite spot of mine because of the excellent lattes and the short rib hash.  Short rib – that’s my dream meal. It’s $12 on Saturdays and Sundays and only offered then.  You also want to go a bit early, like before 10 am before they run out or it’s over crowded.

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Pizza at La Grande Orange

This was the view from the passenger seat of the car – because we love curbside pick up!  The sourdough they use makes every pizza amazing. I always used to order the margherita which you can’t go wrong, switched to corn, then the gladiator, now my new favorite the avocado!

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I came back a few days later for lunch with a girlfriend and stayed for three and a half hours!  We were laughing hysterically, telling stories and remembering old times.  I love how meals bring people together and create memories.  I Skyped with a girlfriend who lives in the middle of the country and wished I could hug her. I sort of love the people in my life a lot if you couldn’t tell.

Donuts from Bosa

Open 24 hours.

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So… yeah, we made a sampler of five donuts and convinced that if we cut them into little pieces like this, it’s less calories (Clueless anyone?).  BoSa Donuts also sells boba drinks if that’s your thing – it was Brittany’s thing so we actually returned after the Glam Garage Sale and went through the drive thru.

Happy Hour at Salty Sow

Sow, like a pig, rhymes with “Ow”. Like a farm to table restaurant, the deviled eggs are amazing, a $5 appetizer menu and a $7 small plates – the fried chicken, oh boy.

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Opens at 4:30 p.m. for dinners only.  A huge patio and great food, this is one of my favorite restaurants, it’s right in Paradise Valley/Scottsdale area off Tatum and Cactus.

There were many additional stops shopping and eating I didn’t snap a photo or go to this past week – like The Parlor, Flower Child, Sapporo, and consignment stores like My Sister’s Closet and Poor Little Rich Girl (now turned re-sale, no longer consignment) which now motivates me to clear out my closet.

Sometimes it’s fun rediscovering where you live and loving that when company comes in town, there are places to go and things to do and enjoy – the things you do every day!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend rediscovering your town!

Don’t forget this Sunday Lilly Pultizer hits Target stores! I have my wishlist!

Lifestyle, Personal, Southwest, Travel

Download the printer-friendly PDF version here: Download PDF

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A few weeks ago I took my mother-in-law to SAS Fabrics (she’s from IL) and was pretty sad that I had no projects in my mind so I left empty handed.  Then a few days went by and I realized I did have a couple projects I could tackle – seat cushions!  I went back to SAS the next week and was SOOOO excited to fill my basket up with fabric and piping!

Since we had custom cabinets and shoe shelving made in our laundry room, it was hard to find a cushion that were the exact dimensions and I knew foam can be quite pricey so I just waited.  I contemplated buying an $80 Pottery Barn cushion and cutting it shorter to make it fit – ah!  So glad I didn’t and after hanging around the fabric store this idea popped into my head – DIY bench cushions made from two pillow forms!

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I bought the toile fabric for $3.99 a yard at SAS Fabrics, and two 20×20 pillow forms for $7.99, and two buttons for $.25 each.  Total around $20!

Want to make one? Let’s get started.

First, make sure pillows fit in the spot.

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Measure the area.

  • Bench area: 17.5″ x 32.5″
  • Add 1″ due to puffiness of pillow (height)
  • = 18.5″ x 33.5″
  • add .5″ for sewing the seams
  • = 19″ x 34″ final size

Cut fabric to size. Using Fiskars rotary cutting set.

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Face printed side to each other.  I wanted the print to face the same direction too because if I were to flip the cushion my finishing seams would still be in the back.

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Decide where your open seams will be, side or back.  I decided two in the back.

Start sewing all the way around – but remember to allow 2 openings for the two pillows.

I have a serger but for this project I wanted to stick with my sewing machine.  I used the zig zag in the middle of two straight stitches.  This makes sure there’s still a straight line when I turn it inside out but also secures the fabric a bit more from fraying.  It’s a great alternative if you don’t have a serger.  You can also use pinking shears on the fabric instead of a straight cut and on your sewing machine run a straight stitch.

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Using a fabric marker (it disappears after a few minutes) mark the middle and sew a few inches above and below it just to make that opening secure and easier for you.

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Flip inside out.

Iron – see the difference it makes?

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I wanted to sew the edges for a cleaner edge.

Remember to leave two openings open, but do anchoring stitches at the openings.

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Lay flat and measure the middle – it may not be where you made the first mark after sewing.

This is where you do the middle seam to separate the pillows.

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Stuff.

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Sew closed.

Add fabric covered buttons.  I made my own.  I watched this tutorial here.

Place in the middle using a really thick string, double or triple if you must. I used a 3″ needle too and so it would go all the way through.

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On other side I used a clear button.

Squish both sides so you can flatten the pillow a little.  It helps to have the top button have string left so you have it to tie down really tightly.

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All done!

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The No-Sew method would be to get two pillows and use a ribbon to hand stitch both together on both sides!

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Download the printer-friendly PDF version here: Download PDF

Decor, Home + Garden, Sewing + Crafts

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A little drive to Cave Creek to visit the Sears Kay Indian Ruins in the Tonto National Forest was a great experience – nice views while exploring the history of the Hohokam Indians.  This site was first occupied about 1500 AD.  The loop hike is an easy hike, and just a little over a mile of a loop.  Directions on getting there, found here, Tonto pass required.

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Model: Ricki Uster / Athletic wear: GAP / Shoes: New Balance by Kate Spade Saturday / Leather wrap bracelet: Carol McCoy / Crystal cuff: Adam Rabbit Jewelry

Photos for PHOENIX magazine.

Editorial, Photography, Southwest, Travel

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