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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Kokoon-137 Photos by Melissa Louise for Kokoon

After I complained last Friday about my constant audition goings and inability to book anything, I had another audition this week, cause you know, it’s what I do – professional auditioner.

Only this time, my audition was filmed and they liked it so much they’re going to use the actual footage and I just got paid for it.   I’m so thankful and sometimes that little pick me up is exactly what your heart needs to push out discouragement.

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Monday, April 21 is the last day to enter the $150 Kokoon giveaway.  Visit this post to leave a comment to enter.  If you browse through Kokoon’s site and tell me what you’d spend your credit on, I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

Make time this weekend to enter.  You won’t win unless you at least give it a shot.  Winner will be announced on Tuesday morning.

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It’s also Easter this weekend.

I wanted to take a nice photo of Liberty and London for you like the cover of Martha Stewart, but it’s a bit warm outside already and I’ve been gone in Dallas for a blogging opportunity/sponsorship that I figured some photos taken from our Kokoon spring line shoot should work.

I’m holding Liberty, my favorite girl.

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London says hello (below):

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Have a great Easter.  The Son of God who was brought down from Heaven above died for all of on the cross.  That while we are all sinners, by just believing that He was the Son of God and was risen back to life, we now are saved and have eternal life with God.  Jesus is the bridge of the gap between man and God.  John 3:16.  If you’ve never been to church before or you don’t know where to start, google “Non Denominational Christian Church” that should be a great start on a new journey to a new life.

I left my old life behind at 25, I’ll tell you about that one day.

Diana Elizabeth says the bunnies will be getting carrots and enjoying the outdoors over the next few weeks before the 100 degree temperatures set in.

Life

MelissaSchollaert_HeirloomHome-00165 Photo by Melissa Schollaert / Hat: Sommerset Hat

This is my herb box that divides the patio from the backyard, right off the laundry room/kitchen area.   I’m pretty certain this wasn’t my idea, it was probably my friend Michelle’s who has her own food blog, as I would never imagine something so perfect. I plant some herbs there – along with a few colorful flowers, so I can easily walk out and grab some fresh herbs if I need it while cooking.

I also try to not waste water, so any leftover water from boiling eggs, pasta, that sorta thing I pour into the herb garden or on bushes.  Aren’t we so fortunate to have fresh clean water? I think about that every time I turn on the faucet.

I can’t stress enough the truth of, “The best thing for a garden is a gardener’s shadow.”  The other day I noticed my artichokes were looking pretty pathetic.  A few checks on the automatic drip system showed me they were only getting watered once a week.  And lately, this heat has been taking a toll on my veggie garden so it really started to show.

Every day I jump in my garden boots from Target (similar) and go out and check to make sure things are OK, no bugs have attacked things, watching it before it becomes a real problem.  Just one full yeas into taking on this adventure of gardening I’ve finally stopped killing things – although there was that one time I mistakenly composted my entire harvest of limes out of confusion – apparently I had the smaller limes that go into your Corona instead of the ones I thought I bought.  Oh well, I’m excited for next year.

Are you going to start a garden soon?  If so, check out this post I wrote about how we started our garden beds.

MelissaSchollaert_HeirloomHome-00169 Antique watering can, gift from our gardener (similar, similar, also love this one)

In Phoenix, our season is coming to a close, the heat will kick in and we’ll be able to grow tomatoes, basil, peppers, jalapenos and a few other things, but say goodbye to our lettuce and peas.

Here are a few gardening things on my mind as of lately, a few things I proudly own:

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Row 1: pink garden tools / hat / hand therapy
Row 2: hose / harvest basket / copper plant markers
Row 3: Garden trellis, cedar composite / 3-pack tomato and plant support tower / watering can

If you’re hesitant about gardening, take a few local classes.  There are usually classes your city offers that are a few bucks, just ask your local nursery.  I took many classes in order to understand where I should position my garden (and I totally didn’t listen but it still works), and how to keep grass away.  Don’t be afraid – I used to kill things all the time, and that’s just part of learning!

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Diana Elizabeth wouldn’t be as good of a gardener if it weren’t for her supportive husband Mr. Wonderful.

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Summer is going to be here before we know it so I’m sure you’re all ready to travel – I know I am!  I thought I’d write a post of some of my favorite travel gear and what I take with me.  I don’t take ALL that you see above with me all the time, but for the most part it’s about 85% of the gear you see above.

When I went to Ireland and London, I left my DSLR at home but took my Sony NEX-5R (c/o), with 3 lenses: 50mm f1/.8 great for portraits and that compression, 16mm f/2.8 for scenic wide angles, and the standard kit lens 18-55mm (c/o) just incase I needed it for backup.  I typically put all of those things in the ONA camera bag travel insert and stuff in a large crossbody purse.  To see how great this camera is with DSLR quality (minus the mirror) click here to see photos from Ireland.

If you have a smart phone you can use a free app to use your phone as a remote.  Otherwise, you can pick up an inexpensive wireless remote.

I always pack my Canon Powershot S100 as a backup.  Because it’s so lightweight, I can slip it in my clutch.  Also if my batteries run out on my main camera, heaven forbid, I don’t miss capturing something great.  It has manual mode and opens to F/2 which is important for a photographer – this basically means you can capture some great images in low light settings, even on auto mode.

For any landscape shooting, this Dynex tripod lightweight tripod I bought at Best Buy for under $20.  You cannot use your hefty DSLR on this bad boy, I wouldn’t even try it.  It’s not heavy duty, but is excellent for small camera needs.

If you’ll be backpacking or you need to stuff more equipment on your back, consider the Case Logic Reflection DSLR Backpack (c/0).  You can see my review on it here.

If you just want a decent lens and your smartphone, you can take the Sony Qx10 (c/o) lens and that’s it!  Read my review here.  It will take excellent photos on the mini SD card and you can have it on your phone as well.  This is great for all your phone picture takers – but you know you should really preserve your memories with better equipment.  Downside – no flash, but nbd if you shoot during the day.

Quick reference:

  1. Sony NEX-5R (c/o)
  2. Wireless remote
  3. Dynex tripod
  4. Case Logic Reflection DSLR Backpack (c/0)
  5. 18-105mm f/4 (c/o)
  6. 18-55mm (c/o)
  7. 50mm f1/.8
  8. ONA camera bag travel insert
  9. 16mm f/2.8
  10. Canon Powershot S100
  11. Rowallan Camera Case
  12. Sony Qx10 (c/o)
  13. Qx10 carrying case

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below.   Are you going anywhere this summer?  Happy travels!

Diana Elizabeth says the Sony NEX cameras are amazing, she recommends it to everyone, even photographers because traveling with a DSLR and all those expensive lenses doesn’t make sense!

Photography, Travel

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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.

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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.

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