My name is Diana Elizabeth. My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I'm a journalist who went from writing about fashion and reporting on the LA red carpet to a photographer and FORD model. When I'm not behind or in front of a camera, I enjoy blogging about my home projects, and the things that make me happy with camera in hand.

I appreciate old homes, love adding fruit trees to our yard, and I firmly believe making a house a home is a wonderfully fun ongoing project. I'm bravely jumping into the domestic life hoping one day I will bake a homemade pie so I earn my badge. This is a glimpse into my life and work.

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Those wardrobe pieces you can always bet you’ll get compliments when you wear it – that’s the Kokoon line.  Kokoon – a boutique without borders concept, is a modern version of a home trunk show business (you can also buy online if you cannot attend a local show).  Kokoon has been in business for 25 years, you can read owner Laine’s amazing journey in the Edina Magazine interview here.

Laine is a dual state residence, living in Scottsdale, Ariz. and Minneapolis, Minn.  Laine wanted to offer my readers a little giveaway to celebrate the new items added to her spring line by spoiling one of you with $150 credit!  You can order through a rep or online – the reps have more exclusive and limited items.  ALSO!  Kokoon is also offering all readers a 20% off discount until the end of May, use the code: DIANA20,  so get a jump start on your spring/summer wardrobe now!  More info on how to enter at the end of this post.

They are looking for sales reps across the country, and you don’t need to buy samples or give any formal presentations.  Hostesses receive free clothing credits and a 30% discount for six months on qualifying shows.  If you’re interested in hosting or being a rep, click here.

Here are some of my favorite pieces I modeled that you might like!

For size reference, I am 5’8″, 32B, 25″, 34″ and 117 lbs., I am wearing a size XS in everything.  These were taken at my house!

41 Princess Sweatshirt has the cutest ruffle detail!  This was so soft and is so feminine, I love it!

aSeUhq9-0_XSrgU5TKF9dcmwE2-STxUGlXEVPk59-ak-682x1024 Limited Edition cap sleeve wrap dress only available through a sales rep.

I really want this entire outfit as I can imagine myself walking through the flower shops in France…

U5z0uJHio-vFT5Cngx994bu7pi4uKClyxrRMcFuFtV8 Regatta Stripe rib-knit dress with cardigan look at the back…

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nvr7n_r3gi1dw6aubrpqwdic7qtbngfwlct-_cwqyi0 A twist on the basic tank!

04xgjpwepzc1focqtuahlw17gln-jeizquxzfzwgh2m_1 Demitasse tank in black (comes in other colors) – it’s reversible! Scoop neck or the peek-a-boo detailing.
City of Angels maxi skirt, feels so good against your skin! Love the bright colors.

jaygoyukrsyo2778ame34ot73toavrcq7so2rs9-hme Woodstock Maxi skirt, love the detailing!

What will I be adding to my closet?  I already have the Kanga Poncho in gray, but I fell in love with this little dress:

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These images taken by Melissa Louise Photography - who is just amazing.  She specializes in seniors in the Minneapolis area!  Alright, so here’s how to enter the sweepstakes…

Use the code: DIANA20 for 20% off your purchase - valid through end of May!  Start shopping now!

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To win $150 of credit to Kokoon, leave a comment below by 5 pm MST Monday, April 21 (comments will be then be closed).  Winner will be selected at random and announced the next day on Tuesday’s post.  That’s it!  Open to US and Canada residents only.  

BONUS! We’ll double your entry if you tell us what you’d spend your credit on.  Is it the Woodstock Maxi?  The Princess Sweatshirt?  Or something else? Visit Kokoon’s site to take start shopping.

Can’t wait to hear what your favorite piece is!  Don’t forget to follow and like them to keep in touch!

Every one thank Kokoon for doing this!

Diana Elizabeth knew she had to get this cute little dress after she put it on – perfect for her upcoming France trip!  Oui Oui! 

Style

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Phase 1 of Sony Club has come to a pause (they don’t want us to say end), but not without a bang!  A nice big box arrived at my door.  My, what could be inside?  A sweet note, and a reminder of some fun memories we had when we all met up for the first time in San Diego for sailing, horse races, and collecting our Sony goodies… and…

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Wait, did I see that correctly?  An e-mount lens box?  Telephoto?

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Why yes! Yes!  I had this in my Amazon shopping cart for a month debating if I needed a telephoto lens.  This 18-105mm f/4 will be perfect for…

A week long trip to FRANCE in June!

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Weeee!  Oh, and my face is on a marshmallow with my fellow Sony Club bloggers, the rest of the awesome 10 of them.

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When I first decided to concentrate more about blogging I had little to no idea what that meant, what the rewards would be, if any.  I wasn’t looking for them, just looking to share, encourage, write in my own little space in the blog universe and enjoy my day to day lifestyle.  This has truly been a blessing, a nice encouragement, and I have really treasured this time of being included to work with such a great brand.  Thanks Sony for all the fun and your generosity, really love you guys.  You had me at Walkman.

Equipment used: Sony NEX-5R (c/o),+ 18-55mm (c/o).

Diana Elizabeth says a fast way to her heart is filling her camera bag.  And a full expenses paid trip overseas, that will also do.

Photography

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Some days, instead of a professional model or actress, I feel like I’m more of a professional auditioner.  Audition, open call, audition, audition.  One day I’m a yoga instructor, another day I’m dragging my pet bunnies in a cage for a Petsmart commercial.

A few weeks ago, I did a high kick during my audition because I was so over going to auditions.  For the record, it wasn’t completely out of context.   I was dancing during my audition and well, just decided, this is how freaking happy I am about this audition.  And no, I didn’t get the part, but it was a good high-kick.

The reality of being in this industry is that you go to a lot of auditions and book only a few.  Direct books are few and far between but when they do happen, they are fantastic!  And sometimes, you have to go back after you do a good audition for a callback so it takes a lot of work to be a working actor and model in the industry.

Anyway, just thought I’d share a glimpse of real truth that it’s not all glamorous and just like any job, you get no’s.  Only these no’s have to do with your height, weight, face, hair, and acting abilities – or maybe even high kick abilities ;)

But guess what I did get to do a few weeks ago … I’m on Kokoon’s front page of their website!

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More on this line next Tuesday as they are going to do an incredible giveaway.

But, if you want to start shopping now, use code: DIANA20 to enjoy 20% off your entire purchase through the end of May.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Diana Elizabeth has headshots in her car, ready for a moment’s notice for an audition.

 

Life, Style

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So it seems as though we have a digging problem on our hands…

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Every day the girls get to go outside, so I don’t understand their issue with staying in their incredibly large run.  But maybe, just maybe it’s starting to get warm? I mean they do have a fur coat on and all.

So Mr. Wonderful dug them a little hole.  Very Hobbit like if you ask me.

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Then a few days later I was outside and noticed both of them were chomping at the grass like crazy, and not swallowing.  Don’t run with your mouth full, ladies.

So I watched, and they were gathering.

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Which I find incredibly adorable since I don’t know how bunnies communicate but they were taking every grass strand they fit in their mouth and would run back into the tunnel.

Way to use the cushion, Liberty.

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Diana Elizabeth and Mr. Wonderful are thinking about creating an underground pipe tunnel for them to go in and out of their outdoor hutch.  Liberty and London are still kept inside during the night time because they are too little and they worry about them being safe at night.

Home

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I love this girl to smithereens, you’ve already heard me gush about her so many times when she’s in front of my camera (maternity, styled bride and groom shoot) so I’ll spare you.  Brenna and I are both signed the local FORD Models agency out here as actresses and print models.  You have have seen her in a AAA commercial, and Peter Piper Pizza – I know there’s more, there’s always more.  We were thisclose to being in the same commercial together many years ago for Blue Diamond Almonds but guess they didn’t want two brunettes together because we were in separate commercials, one day!

She took one of my online classes, a beginner DSLR course, excelled so quickly and just went crazy with her camera and gear – she is incredible!  So we decided we’d head out for a half day and just have fun walking around and shooting each other to update our online modeling portfolios.  Lots of giggles and fun, make sure to check out her photography page on Facebook! Love you Bren!

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Don’t forget to like her on Facebook!

Diana Elizabeth says the Phoenix Zoo has never been more fun.  Haha! 

Portraits

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I’m not cheap, just ask my husband, but I am practical.  I have gone through multiple unsuccessful ways of traveling with jewelry – cases, bags, soft travel bags.  Since summer is coming up, I thought I’d share one of my favorite travel accessories, something I just purchased.

I decided to buy only pages and not the outer case (which is $50).  For me, I just need pages, I can always sew my own case or slide it in something else, or not.

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What I love about these is I can see thru them!  They are double sided and snap together.  I think they could also fit inside your tote if you wanted to carry on your precious accessories instead of checking them in.  Or even great for being on shoots for modeling!

So maybe my practical side of only spending $19 seems silly, but that’s all I really need right now, just the 3 extra pages.  If you’re interested, the $50 case set includes 3 interior pages that snap and includes earring holders if you need it.

To buy just the 3 pages as I did, see it here.

How do you travel with your jewelry?  Do you also let your shoes touch your clothes when you pack? I can’t!  I have to put them each in shoe bags – which I’ve sewn of course.

Diana Elizabeth thinks she dresses better when she’s on vacation and traveling than every day.  How does she break this habit?  Maybe it’s because she knows photos won’t be taken on a daily basis.  

Style, Travel

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I love to shop, but the grocery store is so boring.

Nothing changes.  The store looks the same – all the time.

Then a friend mentioned think about how many times you touch your groceries.  You touch it to put it in your basket, into the cart, then out of the cart onto the checkout belt, into the car, then out of the car, then one more time into the fridge.  This is why Safeway delivery is worth it.

It also keeps you from wandering the aisles and over spending.  I once tried to save money by going and instead I spent $180 on groceries when my Safeway cart at home online was at $80.

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Here’s all you need to know:

  • First delivery is free
  • 1 hour window – $9.95 if you spend over $15o in groceries, or it’s $12.95
  • 4 hour window – $6.95, you can also do a 2 hour window, I think it’s around $8
  • Drivers don’t accept tips
  • If you regularly go to Safeway and use a card, you can pull up your entire last order or your entire purchase history and go through it and add.  Keep in mind we are creatures of habit so it’s not as much as you think.

It takes me under 10 minutes to online shop.  The only downside are any really specialty items they might not have listed, and you can’t pick your produce of course.  But, I’m fine with that because I can drop in a much smaller store to grab anything else I need last minute.

Also, you may tend to spend less because you aren’t browsing the aisles throwing things in your cart.  Stick to the list.

This was your public service announcement.  Check it out here.

Diana Elizabeth does this during the summer because it’s too hot to shop or go anywhere for that matter.

Home

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Oh Vegas, I probably need more fingers and toes if I had to count how many times I’ve been.  I’ve seen it in every way possible, and always, there’s something great to find depending on the occasion and where you are in life.  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw me posting like crazy this past weekend.  In fact, all of us were blowing up social media – we’re such natural marketers.

First, a few drinks as we pick up one girl at a time.  A 4.5 hour drive from Phoenix, five of us drove and one flew from the OC.

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And let’s make one thing clear – yes that’s my luggage tag.

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We have arrived!!!!

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We don’t wait in lines. I mean, Jennifer doesn’t because she’s VIP at the MGM and had the hook up for our rooms with included food expense.  Nice!

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Our suite was pretty sweet!  Two showers too, and a huge lounge area behind me which you’ll see we took plenty of pics in that spot!  Also loved the lighting.  I’ll call this square ring lighting since the mirror had light around it.  Makes your eyes look pretty!

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Okay, #6 has arrived.  First stop, Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill in MGM which has always been one of my favorite places.  Good choices: Chionois Chicken Salad, and the White Pizza.

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When you travel with a group, what we found was it was much easier to do family style – we don’t eat much, and for 6, a bill might be around $100 or less.

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Then, off to Honey Salt Restaurant, a farm to table restaurant (you must make a reservation) in Summerlin, just 25 minutes off the strip, so worth it.  Isn’t it adorbs?

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Our 8 p.m. reservation was a little behind – and I told the girls it was for 7:45 because I just knew we’d run late.  I’m so smart because we arrived on time!  So even though we had to wait, they came out and gave us complimentary champagne!

Toast to 8 years of friendship!

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Jennifer’s Samsung has this adorable Ap where it take a pic and of the person taking the pic to include them.  Hilarious.  It’s also a good thing we can easily entertain ourselves by taking pictures of each other.

Jumpsuit:  Marshall’s / Gold link bracelet: J.Crew / Heels: Steve Madden / Earrings: Forever 21 / Clutch: Louis Vuitton

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I’m sure we entertained everyone inside.  We all met through pageants, one gal was a Miss Arizona USA and another was a Miss Arizona America.  And yes, we still don’t take ourselves seriously – even as we get older.

Finally seated!

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To try: Shrimp & Linguini, Free Range Oven Chicken, Mac n’ Cheese.  I could have licked the butter that came with the bread.

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If you’ve never been to Vegas and you’re a girl, well expect every guy who reps some club to convince you and your girlfriends to go to that club.  If you’re lucky, they’ll comp you a table and a $200 bottle of alcohol.  Ironically none of us are drinkers, but we’ll take at table at the new MGM Grand club Hakkasan to check it out!

You know the scene in Knocked Up club scene? (Sorry there’s a lot of bad F words in that scene).  If you haven’t seen it, she gets denied because she’s old then she sits on the curb depressed with her pregnant sister and says, “I just wanted to dance!”  We laughed because we felt so old in comparison to those newly 21 somethings.  Well, we just want to dance!

Us old ladies got to the front of the line and free table service.  Guess we’re not that old.

You can find cool souvenirs on the tables like so.

Then after 15 minutes half of us couldn’t take the smoke and we went to bed.  Ok, so maybe we are old.

Next day, pool time of course!

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Heart sunnies: Nordstrom / Rosewood Geo Bikini: J. Crew / Panama Hat: J.Crew

Now, off to see a show!  This room had all the on time girls so we took pictures to kill time, as always.

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I love shows in Las Vegas, they are so worth checking out if you’ve never been.  I love the Cirque shows of course (Ka is my favorite), but we decided to head to The Wynn and check out Le Reve, which has been voted the best show three years in a row.  Sommer’s friend from high school is one of the cast members!

Photo Mar 29, 9 09 45 PM Photo Mar 29, 8 55 53 PM (1) Dress: Christin Michaels / Heels: Steve Madden / Gold Plated Necklace: Kendra Scott (no longer available, but I love this one)

Don’t worry, I didn’t break any rules.  You’re allowed to take pictures and there’s no bad seats since the auditorium is a circle.  So incredible!

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We got to meet up with Chelsea and she gave us a backstage tour!  We had so many questions – and she answered them all.  She’s been dancing in the show for 7 years!

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What a show, I’d highly recommend it!  And then, we ordered room service in our pj’s and fell asleep.

The next morning we were a bit slow.  It seems like everyone was in Vegas for March Madness and a good time.  So we lolly gagged outta there said goodbye to our gf Melayne (my Ireland travel buddy) who left to head back to the OC.  One last stop – Dairy Queen!

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We all met doing pageants and been friends for a long time.  There’s been so much growth, appreciation, and I wish I could elaborate in depth what these girls mean to me.  Time makes you change, life stages, ups and downs but to have the same friends by your side consistently who knew you back when who know your core and who can be there for each other, there’s something to be said about those kinds of friendships.  There are many people who come in and out for whatever reasons but what’s most important are the ones who stand the test of time, and these gals are ones that I’ll be happy to stand by, up for, or sit on the curb for when that night comes when we are denied for being too old to be allowed in a club – even though we are already have old souls and we stopped clubbing years ago.

Until next time Vegas!

Diana Elizabeth says it is possible to travel with that many girls – but you must be relaxed and not have too much of an agenda.  And if you know your girlfriends may run late, always bump up the time by 15-30 minutes, for their own good, and yours too.

Life, Travel

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After watching my idol Martha Stewart explain on video how to make a reversible placemat, I ordered some favorite Liberty of London fabric in Navy Leonard (blue and white floral), Junos Garden Bright (peacock), and Eve Primary (multi color).  I ordered 1 yard of each, they are $36 per yard, one is $18.  I know it’s pricey, but it’s Liberty of London, so of course it’s the best textile print out there!  And yes, that’s the store our buns are named after.

Just how much do I love it?  Remember this photo when I was in London?

I already had heavy duty infusing fabric because I love to sew, and I simply followed Martha’s instructions in her video.  I’m thrilled with them because they are uniquely ours.  With 3 yards at the width they came in, you should have enough to sew 4 double-sided placemats.  This was one of those things I’m not going to lie – it frustrated me because of my own doing of not measuring correctly and cutting poorly.  Note to self – measure twice, cut once applies to expensive textile fabrics as well.  Somehow, I made it work.

Here they are drying in the sun after I used Scotch Guard on them.  Because that’s what you do when you spend $90 on fabric for placemats.

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I do have leftover fabric so I’m going to create some more fun things and I think also start to display all the Liberty of London fabrics I use like this, only using the fabric inside:

Anyone else like to sew?  I’m looking forward to creating so much this summer – while some of you have had harsh winters and that’s when you do your projects, summer when I work on mine!

Diana Elizabeth needs to scour some thrift store for a variety of the embroidery hoops to display her Liberty of London fabrics.

Home

When I first started photography I decided backlighting was my thing.  It’s that natural light photographer I don’t know how to use my flash properly and I am not sure about the look but I’ll also pretend it’s just not my style kinda thing – let’s be real.

While I do understand flash and how to use it, I’m just going to say I don’t like lugging lights around or backdrops so I choose to be more natural in terms of lighting.  Now I can really tell you I don’t mind flash and I understand it, but I’m now lazy and I don’t want to do it.  However, the idea of backlighting and thinking that your subject has to face their shadow straight on, well that’s changed for me.  You may have read this post where I talk about finding the light but in this post I want to talk about it from the side.

I would say if you’re a fan of backlighting, don’t forget it blows out your skies, and don’t overthink backlighting so much that you miss out on the nice view behind.

I also think lighting from the side is just fine.  I’m going to show examples, and most of these images you’ve already seen before but may not have paid much attention to lighting.

Yes this is perfect backlighting:

Everything about this shot was perfect, including the background.  But in some instances, it might be trickier and I want to challenge you to not freak out if your subject has sun on one side of their face because this is just a different lighting scenario.  It’s not incorrect, but you can still feel this is your style.

Lighting directly from the side:





Do you now spot what I’m saying?  Don’t miss out on a pretty backdrop just because you’re scared of shadows or you think everyone has to have the sun behind them.  Having light come from one direction isn’t just for studio lighting or drama, it can be done outdoors and be very pretty.

Now let’s look at inside.

Inside window light, to the side:


And if you really like to backlight, and maybe you do want flash, you can try this:

Happy shooting, don’t overthink it!

Diana Elizabeth always thought she had to have the light behind but that really limits how you can shoot.  Also keep in mind that if it looks good, it looks good!

Photography

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