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, 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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Category Archives: Home + Garden

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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

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

MelissaSchollaert_HeirloomHome-00212Sommerset Hat

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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In the evenings, it smells absolutely heavenly – citrus blossoms are in full force in the Phoenix Valley and I wish I could turn your screen into a scratch and sniff so you could smell what I’m smelling. Ahhhhhh, here’s a little Phoenix garden tour update – Liberty is loving this time of the year, you can just tell.

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I decided to turn the raised beds to a flower bed.  I threw in a few herbs, basil, rosemary and green chives.  I liked the colors of the flowers and they sure seem happy.  The pansies remind me of Alice in Wonderland!  Below are asparagus ferns, they like shade.  They don’t get much water than what leaks from the boxes which seems to have worked thus far.

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This is the time when I start counting how many blossoms are on my citrus trees because blossoms = fruit.  Of course they over produce and drop the excess.  I learned this from AZ Plant Lady, our horticulturist.  This helped calm a lot of my nerves when I started to freak out that I was losing citrus prematurely.

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I attach a bubbler to my hose to let the water trickle more.  I’m worried about my lemon tree, I counted under a dozen flower buds so I tossed on some citrus fertilizer and decided to run the water.  The pink lemon tree is buzzing with bees, the grapefruit isn’t too far behind.  I forgot about my lemon so I’m keeping a watchful eye on it this season.  If this is all it’s going to produce, it’s far too late, but I have a feeling it might be a late bloomer – ha, I can actually use that in it’s literal context.

Here’s the asian pear tree which got another cut.  The first blooms I’m seeing are at the base which probably won’t work out in the end, but it’s still a lovely sight.

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Sprouts!  These are green onions, the taller ones in the back are flowers.  I’ve decided to mix my deep beds with flowers and root veggies.

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Those larger sprouts are melons – Melayne, see I used the seeds from Thomas Jefferson’s estate! :)  She brought them to me from her trip and I can’t wait to see the flowers and hopefully melons will work out!  If you want to read how we started on our beds, click here.

Our kumquat tree decided to produce again.  I think it was the citrus fertilizer and the fish fertilizer I put on them, it just woke up all the plants.  It has taken two years for us to see kumquats – and when the kumquat was delivered it had fruit on it and we think it was upset at us for moving it that it decided to hold back providing us any fruit.  We threatened it by telling it we’d rip it out, and then look at it now.

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You can tell the plants are waking up now – look at our jasmine wall.  For a few months I’ve had some great time off as it went dormant (but still green), and now I see all the new branches I must train.  We won’t be letting the whole wall fill up – I want to keep it in the diamond pattern which is quite some work but so worth it.

Look at the lavender I planted, they are so happy!  I also removed the mulch, I have yet to replace it and am debating pea gravel that won’t need to be replaced, only every 10 years opposed to organic material which is every year.  This will probably happen after I find a mason to help with my flower borders.

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I butchered this honeysuckle on my own. I thought I wanted to grow it into a tree but then I changed my mind.  Well, I changed my mind after the frost really got to it so I think I’ll go back into a bush form for now.

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This is still one of the most charming spots in our backyard.  I moved the bench from the bunny area (still needs to be worked on), but I need a white bench along the brown wall to have it stand out.  I have my eyes on a white cast iron set I found and I just need to go back and get it (hoping it’s still there).  I want a white cast iron bench and/or a table set.  I’m not sure why I think I need so much seating but I like to be prepared.

I should have about 20-25 in my backyard early May for a baby shower anyway, so the seating would come in handy *wink*

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Gardening, Home + Garden

My girlfriends and I are going to host a Glam Garage Sale in Tempe in mid-April so I’m gathering things around the home I am not in love with any longer, hoping to find something better to replace it with.

I took down the curtains in my office which Benjamin immediately noticed.

“Don’t worry, they weren’t that expensive, just from Target,” I said between my computer typing.
“But how much are the new ones going to cost?” he asked.

Valid point. (Old curtains below, if you want them, come to my glam garage sale, I will give you a great deal).

I’m thinking of repainting my office this spring/summer.  I can’t decide when. I can’t decide if.  In fact, from the time I wrote this blog post to today, I’m still not sure.

This is what it looks like:

I am desiring an airy, lighter look.  Really only because my home is gray, blue, greens and ivory.  I love yellow though, you’ll find that in natural wood throughout our home but I just felt that the transition from the living room looking into my office was a little – pow. I had taken the same wall colors from my townhome and moved them to the new house.

The colors I’m contemplating:

abf2ec6fe920a16aec70b8b6c1a710cdBenjamin Moore, Tranquility

cc44e85af6b7964ae821a579e15b09c0Benjamin Moore, Pale Smoke (source)

I am heavily leaning towards Pale Smoke which then meant I had to Google Image more of it to see it on the walls.  I like that it is a blue/green/gray hue. I want a little hint of green.

92cb6c0f44d75ac2734eece0c188a288Benjamin Moore, Pale Smoke

We have the walls a neutral white/beige and the rest of the home is blue or gray – various shades.  I’m hesitant on being the house full of the same shades, like oh, how unoriginal.  But yet, how much better does that just make your house flow?  Ack.

I could always go…

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Benjamin Moore, Melted Ice Cream

2cf5e53d358c3e4adf71d5c72d48697dBenjamin Moore, Wythe Blue

After Google searches I found it hard to decide if I like it so I’m just going to need to get a few samples.

As for the replacement curtains – this is what is going up:

WIN2-06_1Serena & Lily French Tassel Window Panel

The tough part is that I have an ottoman that would match the wall color, so this would not fly in my space any longer, which can be moved in other areas of the home, or for sale.

I should just paint the room white.  Ah, but then the curtains won’t work.  I’m about to pull my hair out.

I am hosting a baby shower in the backyard early summer – May, so maybe it can be my goal to paint then.  Then again, maybe the idea of doing so may overwhelm me.  Stay tuned.  Ideally if I don’t have to paint, it certainly would be nice to avoid it.

What do you think?  Should I paint or leave it?

Decor, Home + Garden

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Earlier this week after drinking crack Coke Zero, and having mocha almond fudge ice cream, I laid wide awake in bed until 1:30 am.  When Benjamin woke up a little before 6 am, I decided to get up too.  Somehow I survived the day and I decided to make some coffee and do my bible study homework.

Because I’m growing things and I’m excited about them, I had to head outside as soon as I could.  We had a lot of rain the day before and I LOVE it, I love rain!

I walked through my gates and I saw steam coming from my hammock.

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It kinda looked like there was a cup of coffee sitting there, just heating away, fighting the cold crisp air.  It was the dew off the pillow being heated by the morning sun.

The steam danced into the air.  I just watched for a bit, it was so beautiful as I listened to the sound of morning – the world was just waking.

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I took an iPhone video and sent it to Benjamin, it just seemed magical.  Is that strange?  I suppose seeing something unordinary, or just being alone with the urge to explore the results of what can happen over night, and curious what a new day can bring, it’s just exciting isn’t it?

And then I turned the corner to check on Liberty and the scene just took my breath away – iPhone photo for this one.

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Gardening, Home + Garden

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It’s that time again – *cartwheel* planting time!  I mentioned last summer after my South of France trip that I would use bamboo to make a French-inspired garden!  The day has come.

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See the new climbing jasmine in the back against the wall?  I just bought it, it’s pinkish-white flowers and more vine-clinging like, unlike the other jasmine on the other wall I shaped on the trellis.  I’m debating if that’s the spot I want it because I’m afraid of them taking over the lime tree to the left – it can get as wide as 4 to 6 feet!  I need to make a decision soon, but it’s so tough.

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I used zip ties to secure the four sprinkler sprayers.  I don’t think I’ll have anything climb up this because it would obstruct my sprayers.

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The basils were from a few starters – you should note that in a basil pot you have maybe 5-6 starts in there.  Separate them!  I put one in first and was like wait a second… so don’t be afraid to pry them apart gently.  Marigolds are in there to keep the bugs away.  I was going to cluster them in the middle of my box but realized the bugs would just avoid that area.  So I just spread them out and will let you know how that works out.  I did hear a marigold border is best, but as you can tell, I’d need a LOT more.

Look at that tripod lashing! I first started with 4 then realized 3 is stronger than 4 – look at photography tripods, light stands, it’s just better.  So a tripod it became!

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Ugh, this view.  The spotty grass – that’s from a husband who got a little too crazy with Roundup unsupervised.  God knows why and decided to just start killing my turf.  There’s no point in getting all upset again over it but let’s say right now he knows he cannot do that again – and no, Photoshop is not an option to fixing it *smirk*

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We used raised garden bed corners from Gardeners.com, the 10″ height.

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We heavily thinned out the dead branches on the grapefruit tree.

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Then we gave the old girl a paint job to lift her spirits.  She has a few years left in her.

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New leaves and buds are forming so we left a few ripe ones on for guests to still enjoy (leaving them on the tree is like a storage solution).

Since the geraniums didn’t really make it, I had to plant 12 more plants against the jasmine vine wall – as I have been doing annually.  I decided a 6-pack wasn’t worth it (too small) and I was tired of planting annuals so I bought these perennial lavenders and said, let’s make the backyard like the South of France!  And so, these will grow well and stay put and also survive the summer heat.  So worth the upfront cost so I don’t have to plant every year.

Pay no mind to my brick border job – this has been here for 2 years now and banged up with mowing so it’s time to look for a brick layer and get it done as I had intended.

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If you’re curious about what I planted for spring, you can see it here – click it to view it larger.

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I am taking a chance on squash – one of my best girlfriends went to DC and brought back seeds from her trip to Thomas Jefferson’s estate (he loved to garden) and I used them all for this bed – flowers too!  I put them in the most shaded part of my raised bed.  A few things I decided not to replant this season: strawberries (birds were terrible), eggplant (too many and I don’t eat them), cucumbers, and malabar spinach (never ate it).  We are going to have an abundance of tomatoes and peppers, and I cannot wait.  I did artichoke from a seed but to be honest, I found it more fun and pretty than finding them worth the patience of growing.  The $1-2 heads at a grocery store were worth it and much larger.

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Look at those bunny buns!

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What are you planting in your neck of the woods?

Gardening, Home + Garden

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