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. Here I share my home life, work, and efficient lifestyle solutions.
My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I enjoy home decor, sewing and gardening. This is a glimpse into my life, travel, and work and the things that I discover along the way - with camera in hand.
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I have always wanted to go to Boston in the fall for as long as I can remember. I’ve been to a lot of the United States and East Coast but beyond NYC, DC, Virginia and Rhode Island, those little states between further up have been a harder mission to get to.
I went for the Wayfair Heart Home Conference for home bloggers, I’m also a Wayfair Homemaker Blogger and I figured that was a good excuse as any to get my butt on a plane and just go! Mr. had to stay at home to work, sales is always a tough thing with hitting monthly numbers, so I invited any girlfriend to come along since I had hotel paid for – and this babe, Sommer decided to be my parter in crime! Sommer is also a great traveling companion (it’s amazing to find out you’re both on the exact same page in speed and interests). Find her on IG @sommertimetravel.
What airline is this? Sommer found a round trip from PHX to BOS for $250 on Sun Country Airlines! The layover was just in Minneapolis really quick. Once we landed in Boston our hair was blowing, and I realized, I should have packed a warmer jacket!
The next day, I attended the Wayfair conference – here I am at the hub in the Wayfair offices which was huge and absolutely gorgeous. I love everyone at Wayfair, they are just as cheery and happy as you would expect – they get to work in a beautiful office, you can tell the culture is wonderful too.
I met Maxwell Ryan who started Apartment Therapy – you’ve probably heard of that website and landed on it several times if you are into home decorating. He signed my book with my name *leap into the air*! He was the keynote speaker and gave such a great talk, the conference was packed with just amazing tips and tricks from experts and encouragement to blog about what we love – home decorating!
There were areas set up with companies and Joss & Main is a Wayfair company and challenged us to decorate the couch and take a picture. Well, I wasn’t surprised when I sat in there and saw that I blended right into the scenery. As my friend Emily said, “Where are you? I can’t see you!”
So while half of the day I was in class, Sommer did her thing and met me back with plans.
First, Gardner Museum! We took the T (subway). I am so thankful for Sommer planning and guiding everything, she was the absolute best! Yes, it was raining and I was loving it – see my smile?
If your name is Isabella, or it’s your birthday, you get in free, just FYI ;) When Sommer stumbled upon the Gardner Museum I was all about it – even though it wasn’t about a garden, I saw photos of one and it looked spectacular! So off we went, $5 for students, $15 for adults. We had one hour to take a peek and we could only take pictures in the courtyard. We weren’t allowed to go outside in the garden because it was raining.
That was fine because Sommer and I just spent most of our time in the courtyard anyway. Umbrellas have to be in bags, you can’t use a selfie stick and if you’re carrying a coat make sure it doesn’t brush up against the artwork. There are a lot of rules and people in every room making sure you don’t disturb or accidentally brush up against the artwork or walls – I get it, it’s a museum.
Isabella Gardner was left her father’s fortune when he passed and was encouraged by friends to accumulate a beautiful collection and when it grew, she decided to build a place to house her collection – she called it Fenway Court (as you see) which opened in 1903. She hired an architect but she had her input on specifications. The three floors are breathtaking, you’ll just have to take my word for it and visit.
There was a wing off to the side of the courtyard we had permission to photograph because it was still almost outside – and the guard timed us and told us we had two more minutes before the museum closed. Pressure!
I’m so glad Sommer wanted to check out Harvard, I never thought about it since the greater Boston area has over 100 colleges and universities in the area – the crowd is young! But really the main ones are Boston University, Northeastern University and University of Massachusetts – Boston and Bunker Hill Community college. I remember watching HGTV and they said the median age was something like 26 in one area. Harvard is technically in Cambridge.
I should have studied harder in high school and went to Harvard, it’s gorgeous. Although the only person I knew who went to Harvard got a 1600 on her SATs and is an incredible lawyer today, a talented pianist and a former Miss Arizona America. Benjamin told me Harvard rejects a lot of valedictorians every year – so I guess that meant I would have never had a chance, bummer, but that also makes me feel better, kinda…?
Sommer and I were hanging out in the student housing area and saw a wedding reception on the grounds in a giant covered tent. Can you imagine getting married at Harvard? Guessing they were graduates.
We asked a student who had quite an impressive mustache if he could point us to a bookstore, a Harvard one of course.
“We don’t really need books (as if it wasn’t already obvious we weren’t students), does it have Harvard stuff?” I clarified.
“Yes,” he smiled, “That’s the obnoxious thing about it.”
And now I have a Harvard tee.
We found some dinner – my side has the prosciutto on it, always a winner.
If I had all day, I would have started early morning and stopped to check out every historic spot along the Freedom Trail. The trail is marked by brick so you know if you’re going in the right direction.
There were a few times we got sidetracked and had to go back and find the brick path. There’s s much going on it’s easy to get distracted.
In effort to not totally jack up history because I could easily do that, let’s just say the Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile path through downtown Boston that takes you through 16 locations that are significant to the history of the United States.
We checked out Paul Revere’s house which was adorable, built in 1680 and owned by Paul Revere from 1770-1800.
I love the dark gray/black house color!
Here’s the Massachusetts State House -
The Granary Burying Ground – established in 1660 and is the final resting place for Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere and five victims of the Boston Massacre.
There I am by John Hancock’s grave.
There were also many other pretty things to see along the way -
Next week I’ll share Salem because I think that deserves it’s own post! Until next time Boston, I hope Wayfair has a conference every year so I can go back – and maybe ride this?
Have you been to Boston? What’s your favorite thing to do there?
My best friend since college, Jackie, loves road trips. You may have noticed when we took a nine day (maybe it was longer) road trip through Dixieland many years ago hitting a handful of states in the South. Then there was the day trip in Arizona going to places I’ve never been before.
She works for the San Francisco 49ers and lives in the bay area and when I told her I was coming home to visit my parents she took the day off and drove up. I got in the car, and guess what we did.
Something to know about me – I can’t stand being in the car for more than an hour – two is pushing it. I’d rather meet you and be on a plane, the plane feels more like home. But, if I don’t get in the car, I don’t get to have the most funny and also deep conversations with my long time best friend or take random side of the road photos – so, I happily get in the car.
Also, there was no game plan. We ended up here, La Porte. Population 26.
Since there were no cars around, for a really long time, I got a little crazy. Don’t try this, ever. You probably don’t want me to babysit your children now.
We were hungry, and so we stopped for food and also picked up a few snacks.
Jackie touches this payphone and I tell her, “I hope you put your hair between that phone and your ear because that’s disgusting!”
From the looks of it, I think her ear touched a public pay phone! Jackie!
Jackie wanted to get closer to the lake. How ironic I joked with her, I just so happen to live down the street from Folsom Lake, you know, where you just picked me up two hours ago. But hey, alright, it’s your road trip, so we keep driving. The lady at the general store warned us to not go too far because eventually the pavement would end – and it did. So then, Jackie decided to walk down to a path that looked super long.
I wasn’t quite sure how far this would go so I walked slow. Jackie walked fast and I knew why – she wanted to make sure there was a good view and if there wasn’t, she would turn around quickly and I wouldn’t have to walk that far. She also gets really excited and walks fast, it’s kind of cute. I was so glad to see a break in the trees and see water.
We got the water shot. The view was spectacular!
You can camp at Little Beaver Campground – this lake Little Grass Valley Reservoir, it’s a little lake in Plumas County, close to the Pacific Crest Trail. We found the turn off that we had missed when we trailed back and went to the docking area. The weeds looked as tall as corn.
We sat on a dock…
I cleaned off my feet from the dusty road. It was so nice and cool and felt so refreshing. Even though I’m a lake girl, I have to admit the lake also frightens me – deep waters just make me a little squeamish.
What can I say, though, the breeze started to pick up and it feels so good to be home!
What a great last trip home to end the summer!
This past weekend I flew out to Orange County to catch up with Melayne – it’s always fun girl, down time when I see her every summer. We eat, enjoy the beach, and talk – a lot about everything.
I realized how it’s amazing to laugh with people not necessarily because they’re funny or you’re funny, but the relationship and chats can make you laugh and that’s the best part of friendship. You might have already figured out that my girlfriends are a huge part of my world.
First night, Tabu Shabu – I love shabu so much, it’s kind of ridiculous, it’s a toss up – am I seeing Melayne or am I visiting Tabu Shabu? Just kidding!
I researched how I could have shabu in my house. The reality is, I don’t feel like getting the meat so I need to find a good neighborhood place around me in Phoenix. We get chicken and lamb shoulder and I ordered a broth similar to ramen soup – salty! Melayne likes spicy so you can see her peppers flowing in her broth.
Melayne also plays beach volleyball on the weekends – she was an NCAA volleyball player at UofA and South Florida. It’s funny we went to the same college and were the same year but we didn’t know each other. We did know a ton of the same UofA athletes. We later met competing in a pageant!
We took a few fun shots at the beach these are iPhone shots. I brought my new to me but very old film camera and right now a few rolls are in the process of being developed and scanned. I’m unsure if any will even turn out at everything was experimental with using an ancient camera for the first time, trying to see how the camera’s custom settings work, and figuring out which film I like.
If they’re worth sharing, I will of course. Otherwise, I enjoy challenging myself as a photographer.
There was a lot of eating – Shirley’s Bagels in Costa Mesa is so popular, we ordered open faced bagels. I need to make this at home, so here’s the recipe – Sliced bagel, cream cheese, sliced cucumbers, avocado, tomatoes and some lemon pepper seasoning. Amazing.
I also love stopping into Heritage Mercantile Co. It’s such a cute store even cuter on the outside with vines crawling up!
Melayne also cooked for me, she had some salmon her mom and dad caught on a recent Alaska trip. I would love to go back to Alaska and bring Benjamin (I went when I was in jr. high on a cruise).
Such a catch! Melayne, I mean.
I got a crazy sunburn on my left arm. It just felt so good that day with the breeze and sun that I didn’t think I was getting fried – just like that horrible back tan from France that took me three months to get rid of.
I also have tan lines from my bathing suit which I thought were imprints. I definitely would not have done this if I had filmed that commercial last week, I’m very careful about my professionalism with modeling.
As we sat on the porch facing the beach – like it was one of those rows of homes right on Newport Beach, Ryan made us legit Acai bowls, the frozen Acai is below and it was incredibly refreshing.
A lady walked by and mentioned how good it looked before I took a bite and I told her I’d sell her mine for $40.
But I’m so glad I didn’t.
I have one more trip back to California to visit my family and friends – Nor Cal this time and then I’ll stay put in Arizona because the weather will be amazing and all of you will be begging to visit me! Haha! It’s been a fun summer so far – haven’t even noticed the heat because I’ve been gone every other weekend which has been such a blessing, I love my summer trips!
Have a great weekend!
Hi there! I’m Diana Elizabeth, named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. Welcome to my world of creativity, gardening, simple living, and an extreme love for Europe.
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