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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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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
And let’s make one thing clear – yes that’s my luggage tag.
We have arrived!!!!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!
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
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.
To try: Shrimp & Linguini, Free Range Oven Chicken, Mac n’ Cheese. I could have licked the butter that came with the bread.
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!
Now, off to see a show! This room had all the on time girls so we took pictures to kill time, as always.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Lots of love Orlando! If you are reading on iPhone, click here.
Diana Elizabeth says she still doesn’t know the difference between a crocodile and an alligator, she was paying more attention to the crazy shows!
Yep, no kids in our party at Disney World, but was it odd? Not really.
My girlfriend Kate swore, “There’s something magical about Disney, you’ll see,” she reassured me over our regular happy hour dates. I had expressed my concerns about my seven days at Disney World.
The last time I was at Disney World I was around 10 or 11, my brother was 7. The only thing I remember was that the big silver ball at Epcot Center was a ride, and it was my favorite and it was dark and had stars. So revisiting it 20 years later I was happy to discover it all over again, as an adult. Some of you may not have gone since you were a kid too, so let me tell you what the experience is like as an adult.
Favorites include: Yak & Yeti Restaurant, a pan-Asian restaurant at Animal Kingdom -and Jiko an African restaurant located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge – the lamb was amazing (below), you will most likely need to make reservations way ahead of time. Duck and lamb, my two favorites. Also if you can, go to the Beauty and the Beast’s Be Our Guest restaurant, it’s so uniquely fun, I loved it!
2. If you’re celebrating something, wear your button!
My parents were celebrating their anniversary and got about 6 free desserts! You can get your free button at almost any store or information kiosk – just ask around. You can get a First Time at Disney, a Birthday, whatever! You never know what you might get but you’ll definitely be welcomed all through the park with a greeting, it’s so fun!
3. You should stay at a hotel in the Park. So you can take the bus that comes every 15 minutes back and forth – for those naps, if you want to go back earlier, or sleep in, it’s so convenient. And you can also get shuttled from the Orlando airport straight to the resort, your entire traveling to and from is handled.
And if you do have kids, the hotels are crazy entertaining, look at our Cars themed hotel at the Art of Animation Park. The inside was even more themed and so adorable.
I also loved the Animal Kingdom Lodge where you could wake up to a giraffe right outside your balcony.
4. The off season is winter. We went middle of January and lines were 10 minutes or less. No bugs, too.
I asked an employee the best times and she said from Thanksgiving time through March is great, minus Christmas because that’s a popular time to attend. I know that might not work with some of your kid’s school vacation schedule but if I were a parent, I’d pull them out for a week, plan their homework accordingly and go. Unless you think it’s worth waiting 1.5 hours in line for a 1.5 minute ride.
5. Disney’s technology is incredible. If you stay in the park, you get shuttled to the hotel from the airport on the Magical Express – bags included. You don’t even touch them.
And you get a wristband (you pick the color ahead of time) which is your key to your hotel, entrance to the hotel park (if you also have a car) and Disney Park pass, and fast pass. You also get to head into the park and depart the park 1 hour earlier and later than everyone else.
6. You should plan your vacation using My Disney Experience, an App.
You can add people to it, make your dining reservations, fast passes including meeting the characters, and you can move them around just open up the App. You can also use their free wi-fi to do this, it keeps you on schedule and you can plan out your days at the park.
There you go adults!
And then when you get bored at night, you walk around the Art of Animation Studios and you take pictures like so.
The above photo I just want to tell you Blake just kept telling me, “Lean more!” to which I replied that was not possible without me bending my knees. In which he then said, “Lean like Michael Jackson!” Oh, yeah that’ll do it.
And what do you buy at Disney World as an adult for a souvenir? A silhouette! I’m not going to lie when I tell you I had a fit when Mr. Wonderful wouldn’t do it at first because of his “hat hair” and to my frustration he then found another silhouette cutter the next day and was happy to do it.
These will be new return address stamp and stationery y’all. I’ll show you tomorrow what they look like.
Diana Elizabeth had an amazing time at Disney World, truly. It is a magical place, and she had a great time with her family.
I’m kinda excited to review the Sony Handycam because you’ve probably forgot it existed. On our recent Orlando trip I gave it to my parents to test it out since my mom loves video! Please stay with me to the end of this post as I have to tell you a personal reason why this Handycam is going to be used in my life and how meaningful it will be.
First thing you’re thinking probably is – why should I get one?
Reason – Even though your DSLR has a video option, you can only record up to a specific time, perhaps 12 minutes before it will slice your recording into different files. So you won’t get continuous recording should you need it. You probably also don’t have enough battery power or memory space to record too much, so if you’re a big time video person, this is for you!
Just as I’m going to stress iPhone photos are not a great way to preserve your memories (especially if you don’t print), neither is a video on iPhone. You might be sharing with friends and family, but make sure you are sharing and preserving for who really matters – your children and the future.
My parents documented my whole life in video back in the 80s when it was crazy expensive and a big old video camera and I am so thankful. I actually cry when I watch them because I can see how much my parents loved me as they interacted with me. Mr. Wonderful has baby videos too which is so sweet because I feel like I get to meet him when he was younger.
Back to the review.
Get this – you know how kids love to see themselves? Photos, videos, mirrors, they are seriously entertained by looking at themselves all the time – it cracks me up.
So, imagine you had a fun day with rides at the amusement park and you can settle into your hotel room and watch all the clips you took – one segment goes straight to the next.
A built in projector! Every young child’s dream babysitter right?
My brother also wanted me to note that the sound was impressive.
Here’s the techy lowdown for the Sony HDR-PJ380 Handycam:
Retails for $598 but you can find it around $449
You can project movies if you hook it up to a laptop or tablet via HDMI and project it. Movie night!
Here’s why I think people should use video:
I’m also going to tell you something else I learned while I was in Orlando. My great grandfather was a teacher for the Last Emperor of China. I just learned that – something I should have known my whole life, so I thought.
When I go home this summer to Nor Cal, I’m going to use the Handycam and ask my parents questions about growing up, my grandparents I never knew, the great grandparents, stories, all of it. I will also take pictures with the Handycam as they show me old photos through albums, and I’m going to find out more about my family past, history, and about my parents that I should know before it’s too late.
That’s why video documentation is important to me.
Diana Elizabeth was waiting for this trip to use the Sony Handycam and so glad she did, her family was very impressed and enjoyed using the projection feature back in the Cars themed Disneyroom.
Disclaimer: I am part of the Sony Club Blogger Program by Sony Electronics where a group of selected bloggers have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear.
Packing for a 10-day trip isn’t really easy. So I brought a ton of layers. January isn’t a popular tourist month for the parks which is AWESOME because it meant no crowds. But, it’s still a little chilly – in the 60s and sometimes 70-80 so you never know what you’ll wear. So, lots of layers to change if necessary was all I did.
My favorite thing to wear that was the softest thing ever, was this Crest Mock Jacket by US Polo Assn (c/o). that I could wear alone or under the vest. It kept me so warm and comfortable. I am pretty sure I’d like to nap in it too, it’s like wearing a warm blanket.
Here I am wearing it under my vest which got an equal amount of wear:
By the way, that Mickey shirt was a family shirt and we were all wearing it only every one else wore it under their clothes because we picked the wrong day to wear it. Oh well. We found ours at Target in the men’s section and bought the entire family one. Only $12 each!
Here’s my younger brother at Epcot who is doing what he calls a “Diana Pose”. Pretty close.
Check out the baby stroller behind me. Plenty of those around the park of course!
And here’s what my mom wore and I told her if she kept wearing that St. John’s outfit she’d be mistaken as a Disney employee. And to prove my point, check out their outfits. She was approached twice being asked for help which cracked me up. Oh all in good fun, whatever! Love that my mom doesn’t care.
Speaking of not caring, I totally added to my sweatpants collection. I fit in size XL in girls. So, I got these Princess Letter Sweatpants. I will only wear them to bed, don’t you worry.
And if you ever forget to be fashionable, Disney has some discrete Mickey apparel in scarves and shoes that I found pretty creative.
And don’t forget your poncho. Because when it rains sideways and all over, and mists too, a rain jacket isn’t going to cut it. Don’t worry, about 90% of the park will be wearing one so you won’t feel out of place.
Diana Elizabeth sent Mr. Wonderful home with her dirty laundry so she had more suitcase room to buy stuff. He went home a few days earlier, he stayed 7 days instead of 10.
My version of London and Liberty at Disney World
For those who already know me, you’ve heard me say how much I dislike amusement parks. I liked them when I was little, loved those thrill ride parks that make your brain rattle inside your skull from extreme force, but once I got older, I didn’t go often and I lost interest.
My brother who is a civil engineer and is fond of the layout of the Disney Parks was willing to organize most if it, while my parents as generous as they have always been my entire life, spared no expense, sponsoring the trip to have us all together. Thanks mom and dad!
This week I’ll be blogging about Disney World and a few tips here and there if you plan on going as well as photography tips for the common situations you’ll find yourself in while at a park. I also want to tell you about Gatorland which was something I was not expecting. I’ll even do a video soon!
I fell in love with this guy again:
I caught myself smiling at the light show parade when I saw Mickey, and I got a little nervous when I got to meet the characters like I was small again. It’s true. Disney is a magical place, and we all have a childhood bond to these adorable characters that it made me so happy to be there. If this girl who’s too cool for
school Disney can tell you how much Disney World rocked, then you know you’ll have a great time too. Here I am with my little brother, he was too excited about this meeting.
If you have not seen Wreck it Ralph yet, I totally suggest it. I’m not a cartoon person but it was so adorable and creative.
Why not have a little more fun and take some selfies with characters instead? Me and some old friends of mine!
Plus, Disney knocked it out of the ballpark for what the offer. So creative with their technology and so imaginative visually.
I also have to add that I ate the best food I have in the longest time there. Disney Parks has really high end restaurants so you an eat well. More on that later.
So that’s it for today as I’m catching up around the house and working on blog posts this week. I hope you have a wonderful start to a fresh new week.
Diana Elizabeth sometimes thinks she’d run out of things to talk about, but then she comes back from a trip and all she thinks about are all the posts she can share.
Ok maybe not the politics or a few things out there, but gosh I still do love the Irish (minus the mean Dublin bus driver who left me at the stop!) but anyway, this is one of those trips that totally changed me.
I was so in awe in Ireland, especially the fact that plants could just hang. And yes, I know I could buy them and do that in the desert, but it’d be so unrealistic. I’d have to water that thing a few times a day. I just knew with the Ireland weather which is comparable to Seattle they didn’t have to water their flowers at all.
And they were everywhere. Hanging off windowsills, flowers, flowers, flowers! Cascading flowers!
I’m jealous, can you tell by my tone?
And probably no drip system needed either. NO DRIP!! Sure this was at Ashford Castle and they have landscapers but come on, I’m pretty sure this didn’t require much watering. Unlike that one time I was trying to mess with our drip system timer and realizing it hadn’t gone for a few days nearly killing everything we owned. Oops.
Let’s not forget Cullen’s Cottage.
I loved that there were just green things growing in the stone. I’d like to plant a fern or some flower between stone crevices here only chances are they’d get eaten by a bird or burn up.
I woke up this morning really missing Ireland. Can you tell?
I miss seeing these little creatures too:
Look what I found to make that happen in my own backyard:
Outdoor sheep and lamp lawn ornaments anyone? Just kidding.
Diana Elizabeth says she still thinks that’s awesome.
Rocking Sony’s noise canceling headphones on the way to IL (in-laws)
It reduces up to 99.4% of ambient noise. You can take cell phone calls with it. It’s dang sexy looking too.
Great for airplane trips, or long car rides with little ones screaming, even if they are right next to you. I used to jump when the captain would come on the air, now I can’t even hear him – haha.
So what exactly is noise canceling? Does it just pump way louder music into your ear canal? Well, sorta. What it does is it senses outside noise with a built-in mic and sends an equal-but-opposite canceling signal to the headphones.
Also comes with…
It works with Apple and Android devices. Buy it here.
On a side note, since I gave away my iPad and use the Sony Xperia Tablet, I use a feature that really makes the sound pop. Something that really only Sony can do on their Walkman app on the tablet.
I have a HUGE crush on Sony. They really just gave me the best job in the world reviewing their products.
Diana Elizabeth won’t go on a trip without her noise canceling headphones. She also noticed over Christmas travels that many people take their music seriously with some hefty headphones. Earbuds are so not good enough!
Disclaimer: I am part of the Sony Club Blogger Program by Sony Electronics where a group of selected bloggers have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear.
Hi! I’m Diana Elizabeth, named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, wife, model, and Christ follower. I'm just learning as I go and sharing my stories!
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