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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Birds 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
For some reason we were served complimentary dessert that said Happy Birthday, we then made it an inside joke.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The best photo of the night goes to Melayne and Brenna.
Caption this: “No my man ain’t yo baby daddy!”
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.
This Elvis photo is my favorites. Thanks Jen!
I have a true life Vegas story about this crazy head…
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.
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…
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!
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
These past few weeks have just flown by – my inlaws are in town, who I lovingly just refer to as mom and dad (but for the sake of blogging just wanted to clarify). It’s been so fun – dad likes to walk around the home with a screwdriver in his hand and fix everything, loose knobs, toilet paper holders, chairs, and the list I made of home projects all got fixed! Hurray!
We upgraded the outdoor light sconce with this one from Pottery Barn, then took the old one and moved it to replace an outdoor light fixture I’m not sure why I didn’t replace sooner.
Mom and I have been shopping like, a lot. She loves shopping just as much as me and being from a small town in Illinois, it’s even more fun to take her to all the amazing shopping and hidden spots here – including the bargain basement, Last Chance!
We also enjoyed opening weekend of spring training – we went to the Dodger/White Sox stadium in Glendale.
I watched the game for maybe 5 minutes, and maybe 30 seconds of it was attentively. The rest was on my This Old House magazine I brought along and this Dodger Dog that was as long as my thigh.
We sat behind home plate and I only had to sit in the sun for 10 minutes before the shade saved me.
I hadn’t been to a spring training game since college, the weather has been so perfect, any excuse to head outside is a good one for me, even if it’s watching sports. *wink*
This month I’m so excited to be on five assignments for PHOENIX magazine – it’ll be for the April issue, the Top Doc’s publication! I’m documenting locations to go along with a story on meditation areas and one of the places included Sedona.
Benjamin and I decided to go up for a night to settle in and rest and then the next morning drive to Boynton Canyon Vortex area – it’s by Enchantment Resort (where I shot the cover of PHOENIX magazine years ago). It’s just one of several vortex areas in Sedona. I’m not sure what a vortex is – but they just say it’s energy, just a force, just something that pulls energy and whether or not you can feel it, it’s kinda personal. If you want to check it out, this website was the most helpful and comprehensive guide which was wonderful!
The parking was ridiculous and small, so I suggest going early morning, before 10 am especially on a Saturday to ensure a spot – there a $5 day fee so make sure you pay and put the ticket on your dashboard. The hike was incredibly easy, if I can do it with a backpack of heavy equipment, you can do it.
Back to the vortex energy – juniper trees grow straight, but where there is energy/vortex it spirals like this – twisting around itself.
I also swear there’s truth to it – I had taken a few shots of Benjamin (my model) not yet at the prime spot of the vortex. Everything was fine, we walked to the main part of where the vortex is said to be the strongest, I took out my camera and the back screen was cracked. Nuts.
Then I pulled out my iPhone and part of my protectant screen was cracked too. Ugh.
I posted the news on Instagram and a comment was posted that their Nikon broke there years ago at that spot.
I rented a 16-35mm/F2.8 L series lens from Tempe Camera for this particular shoot because I needed a wide-wide-wide angle. I’ve debated investing in buying the lens but for $1500 I’m not quite sure if I’ll need it as often for assignments just yet. Renting it for a half day (weekend) for $65 is definitely worth testing it out to see. I can’t report back on my decision just yet but if I get a few more jobs that require that type of scenery I might bite the bullet – but that new Canon 5DS that’s about to be released – that’s quite tempting too! OK enough camera talk.
I’ll be able to share the images from our hike in April, sorry to make you wait but PHOENIX has first dibs of course!
My girlfriends and I are heading to Las Vegas for a 3 night trip this early spring, I’m so excited I’m already buying things for the trip! We had so much fun last year we are doing it again only this time flying in instead of driving. This laser cut blush tote will be a great carry on and also bag to the pool. I decided this was a good time to invest in a new luggage set. Do you use the Vio Light toothbrushes? I am crazy about them because of how small they are and I can take an electric toothbrush with me. They came out with a destinations line – including Vegas! I do have my eye on Paris and London of course. Also my travel toiletry bag has sort of fallen apart and so this patent leather Kate Spade will hold up well for the upcoming trips I hope to take.
Vegas for us means good food, pool time and shopping. What do you like to do when you go to Vegas?
At Ashford Castle, in Cong, Republic of Ireland – aka French Court on Reign
Christmas break is always the time I pick up on a new show – it’s usually the only time I have to veg in front of the TV. I decided to look up Reign, a show that I heard about two years ago because Melayne and I were at the scene of where Reign is filmed – Ireland! OK, and Toronto I hear. The day we left we watched a partial filming which I should’ve taken pictures of had I known the show would be such a hit!
Have you heard of Reign? It’s based on real history.
Just a bit of passion (it’s not completely clean like Downton Abbey) more PG13. LOTS of bloody slayings – the time period. You can’t watch with kids around.
Have you ever watched the movies Elizabeth or Elizabeth: The Golden Age played by Cate Blanchet? The second movie gives the history a little about Mary, Queen of Scotland which I would recommend you watch if you have time (though know it’s not favorable towards Mary in her older years).
The show Reign is based upon the true story of a young Queen Mary of Scots and her engagement to the future King of France for power. It’s very well explained in the pilot episode. It goes into Queen Mary’s ladies (her group of servants/bffs). There is drama because the Queen of France (future King’s mom) has a right hand man who has visions, and he said if her son were to go through the engagement to Queen Mary, it will cost him his life. Therefore, drama of deaths! And keep in mind, it is Hollywood so there are real-life history mixed with Hollywood entertainment (like Noah, they sure jacked up that biblical story).
There are a few reasons why I love Reign – the location, the story based upon a true story (even the fictitious events) and the amazing costume worn by the Queen’s ladies, oh so Anthropologie/BHLDN-like! Also the gorgeous braided-hair.
The bridge where Mary and Francis often have their chats (see below pic the bridge behind Melayne). This is the way to the town called Cong.
Look how adorbs these girls are! I’m dying.
I think I need a cape now – and more fur.
Most of the outdoor scenes that are the French Court are filmed at Ashford Castle. Melayne and I stayed for two nights at the end of our week long Ireland trip (see pics here). It was our favorite castle for a long list of reasons but on our last day on the way out, we were waiting at the hotel as filming was going on – all scenes we recognized in episode two.
We saw some characters on horses and they went through a few takes crossing over the bridge and through the gates. I wish I had paid more attention to the characters or taken photos of the production so I could say which characters were there. There was a helicopter flying around to capture the bridge scene.
The grounds are gorgeous, and I am hoping Melayne will get married at Ashford - we joked where her wedding could be set up and how she could walk down an aisle. We were hoping for an excuse in the future to return.
Pardon me as I say hello to my new Irish pet, a hawk.
Looking at these photos just take me back and there’s nothing in the world like traveling with one of your best girlfriends.
You can kinda see why they decided to film the show here. I only wish I took more photos as I began to recognize the different areas as I watch the show – which is now on Season 2. You can watch Season 1 free on Netflix, and what’s already been shown for Season 2 on AppleTV/iTunes for a $32 season pass. I bought it so I am now caught up!
Doesn’t this make you want to see the show, or maybe visit Ireland? I’ll go with you!
My girlfriend Rachel from Nor Cal came in town to run a 100 mile race – the Javelina Jundred (get it?). Running is not anything at all what we have in common and we don’t spend our time together running – because then she would find me as the worst running partner ever and would probably never call me again! Since she already knows that about me, we do what we always do together – go on trips (like my Hawaii 3-0), road trips included, shop, and do overnight hotel and spa days.
We drove up to Sedona since it was her first time and Benjamin offered his Hilton points for us to use so we could stay the night at the Hilton Sedona and make a full day out of it!
We decided to stay and enjoy the setting and enjoy a late lunch. I went with the flatbread of the day, a caramelized onion, artichoke and chicken flatbread. Rach went with a beef sandwich.
We had a guest – for the record we did not give him any food – he probably sniffed an acorn.
The vanilla creme brûlée was amazing, the best I’ve ever had!
Do you see the leaves climbing up the tree trunk? They were changing from green to orange, to red.
We walked around the heart of Sedona, 89A where all the shops were, and took in a few more views of the sunset on the red rocks. If you’re wondering about what makes the rocks red, it’s the iron content.
Then it was off to our Hilton hotel for the night where we watched movies, and ordered room service, of course.
What a perfect day trip! Have you ever been to Sedona?
Now I know not all of you are 49er fans but I thought this would be a fun post for you to experience a little behind the scenes glimpse that I recently experienced. This post is dedicated to my dad.
My love story with the 49ers is basically that I came out of the womb in a 49er cheerleader outfit.
My dad was born in SF, my grandparents immigrated and lived there, and summer camps used to be in Roseville (before they moved to Stockton) which was the town next door. When you are from Nor Cal, you cheer for the Niners. We have autographs, I have a photo with Terrell Owens, and we have a Niner wall upstairs in my brother’s old bedroom. My dad is a die hard fan and before a game would start he would say, “Ask homework questions now because the game is starting and you cannot ask me for four hours.” We were not allowed to talk to dad during a Niner game. If we came downstairs and the game was turned off prematurely, we knew what that meant – and it was to remain unmentioned.
Today, my best friend from college Jackie, works for them. Here we are on one of the team buses from the Ritz Carlton heading to the Arizona Cardinals Stadium.
They presented a unique opportunity for their employees- if they attended a certain number of educational classes about the 49er organization which were optional, they would be sent to an away game and able to enjoy it (when there is a game day, all 49er employees work the game). A handful were able to make time in their schedule (many were busy with the preparation of the new stadium), and one wasn’t able to make it so I was lucky enough to be invited to attend. I’ve never been to an NFL game before – I’ve been to every other type of professional sporting event (even hockey, what?) but not NFL because there’s no team I’d want to see other than the niners which was near impossible given I now live in Phoenix.
But bestie was in town, the opportunity was a blessing, and here’s how the day went.
It starts with several buses on their way to the stadium, escorted by sheriffs. The sheriff cars close down the streets, drive around us with their sirens on because there is no time to be late for a game. You get a lot of stares of people looking like what the heck is going on? And some fans, well, they know. So you get 49er fans driving along side showing off their hats and all excited about the bus arrival.
Here we are at the Arizona stadium.
Kids, we have been doing selfies before you were even in elementary school and before they were even called selfies.
We arrived at the Cardinals Stadium around 10:30 a.m. and had quite a while until the game would start – 1 p.m. So we sat and took a ton of photos and watched players work out and stretch.
That above is Frank Gore. Go Frank Gore.
Look what my friends are taking photos of … those aren’t even Niners!
Even though I have no ties to Arizona other than going to college and living here, I cannot get myself to be a fan when there’s just no tie. But the Cardinals Stadium is very cool – the grass rolls out and they did all this crazy fancy stuff to it since the team upgraded from their games at ASU’s football stadium. I also know it’s not officially called the Cardinals Stadium but this is not a sponsored post so I don’t care. *wink*
Jackie bought me all this 49er gear including the shirt I’m wearing. Faithful is truth – been a fan even when the team wasn’t winning for years (crying emoji face).
Found our seats. Any guesses how much these seats cost? $100. So mom and dad, I hope you enjoy your club seats/non birds eye view at the Levi’s Stadium I managed to hook up for you (thanks Belem!) next month. Dad, you should get a jersey or polo at the team store at the stadium.
Can you see whose family I’m sitting behind?
This Red Zone area is where I took a lot of those selfies I posted earlier – also that table area behind is where we went after the game. It’s where the family of the opposing team hang out post game and say hello to their family. Sure, I feel like I’m part of the family.
Sadly, we didn’t win. I mean a win would have of course been better, but I still enjoyed the game and had lots of cheering for my team as they did do fairly well until the second half – yikes. I blame a lot on the refs too – some were whack calls. To cheer for my favorite team in the entire world in person is just the best.
Live interviews take place here, 49er fans and family hang out (with a ticket that says you can). I don’t think the players have much time before they hop on the bus. TSA comes and they go through a pre-check screening so they can hop on their private plane back.
Then when it’s time, you load into one of the 6 buses headed to the airport. Traffic? No problem, sheriffs have it handled.
I also want to mention that I saw so many “birds” flipped at us. And while I know people who do that do not read my blog, sheesh people – one guy did an “L” sign and that’s just rude. I think that says more about the person doing it than the person it is intended for. I could go on and on about how many badly behaved people I saw from Cardinals fans, but I’m sure every team has their bad boys – and girls! It just made me think players have a lot to deal with and fans are doing things for fun, but everyone has feelings.
It was a great time, what a fantastic memory – this one goes down in the books! Hope you all had a great weekend and your team won!
Hi there! I’m Diana Elizabeth, named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. I'm a creative professional, wife - and follower of Christ.
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