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 love traveling, home improvement projects, sewing, and gardening. This is a glimpse into my life and work.
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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.
To continue on from this week’s earlier post about exploring Upstate New York, we were hired to capture the cutest rehearsal dinner later that night, so on our first day, we headed up and stopped in Storm King, a suggestion of the bride when I inquired other things to see on the way up.
Earlier this month my trusty sidekick (second shooter and long time friend) Amy flew out for a wedding up in Garrison, New York. While it’s uncommon for me to travel for work, I wouldn’t say that I don’t, because for the right job paired with my love of travel, it’s a great excuse to book a wedding on the other side of the coast.
We flew into Newark, NJ, landing at 11 pm, picking up our rental car then proceeded to get completely lost. As I drove over some random bridge I pointed out at the skyline, “Is that the city?” I asked. Yep, it was NYC. So, I decided to chase it for a better view. I mean, really at 11:45 pm, why the heck not when you’re not at all tired. Yes, it was probably dangerous, no I didn’t tell Mr. Wonderful or else he would’ve not be thrilled with my choices, but how often do you get to do something so sporadic?
I found signs pointing to Liberty Park and so I figured, hey let’s just go! We parked and walked close to the dock to get a better view.
San Francisco is where my roots in the states began. My grandparents immigrated here, met and fell in love and had a two boys, my dad was the youngest making him the first generation born in America. My mom’s side is from Shanghai but relocated to Taiwan. When she was famous, she traveled to study in San Francisco, renting an apartment on Commercial Street in Chinatown where my grandparents owned a building. There my mom and dad met and my mom stayed and became a legal citizen.
So I guess that makes me the second generation. My dad has the funniest stories growing up in Chinatown, and some really rough stories too. Being a kid born in the 1950s and going to a Catholic school wasn’t exactly a sweet deal back then. I’m so glad we’ve come a long way from that lifestyle of intolerance.
The day after our kayak trip down the Russian River in Nor Cal, my dad set up a little safari ride in Santa Rosa. We drove a few miles to Safari West where we walked around and saw lots of animals before our jeep ride tour.
“Beverly Hills, that’s where I want to be!” Oh that Weezer song, those catchy little tunes! This past weekend, I headed to LA for a quick overnight trip for a social media seminar. Melayne drove up from Newport to hang out on Saturday. Little did I know or remember Whitney Houston had over dosed at the Beverly Hilton. Aside from that, when I lived in LA long ago I drove by always wondering what it looked like inside and 10 years later I finally had an excuse to be a guest. I was however not thrilled by the $40 overnight parking that I couldn’t get around (even for Diamond Members). Oh, LA.
As soon as I arrived Melayne and I headed to downtown LA for the Renegade Craft Fair which I first heard about in Martha Stewart. It was pretty much an Etsy in real life! Imagine the best curated artisans right in person. They have multiple fairs across the city so check out the site to see if there are any dates coming to you.
I wasn’t in the market for anything until I came across this 22kt gold over brass cuff with turquoise from a faraway place by Tibet. I have tiny delicate wrists so I was thrilled that this was sized just for me!
Now this is an idea I wish I came up with - book journals! Old books that are now filled with lined pages and spiral bound! We laughed over this one… You could write your crazy thoughts in here woman! Only $14!
Kayaking down the Russian River in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Saturday was a perfect day to spend in Nor Cal. I sat in the front of the kayak with my eyes closed and felt the cool gentle breeze blow against my face. I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin – the sound of the water, birds, I took life in. I tend to do that when I’m on vacation, traveling brings out a whole different side of me, I become more peaceful, relaxed, and appreciative. A little confession – I’ve gotten tired of seeing the same boring things, I’ve had it! So being home in California where I took nearly everything for granted, well, I’m going to enjoy it to its fullest!
Dad planned an awesome two hour trip kayaking through River’s Edge. You can rent a canoe or a kayak – I’d say go the kayak route.
*Winner from France giveaway announced at the end of this post*
Quite a few of you mentioned you wanted to visit Paris so I thought I should dig up my Paris photos from a several years ago and show you around.
I had visited in the fall to visit my girlfriend Fawn who was temporarily living in London to help start up a new branch. I stayed at her flat in London for a few days before we headed to Paris.
We headed to Paris on the Chunnel by Eurostar and spent two and a half days in lovely Paris. I do suggest booking this ahead of time as last minute can be quite pricey, just like an airline ticket. Also, don’t get a coffee thinking you can get on the train aroind the time posted on your ticket. The depart time listed is when you should be on the train at that time. We got sweetly scolded by an employee asking where we had been.
I had done some research and found the most adorable and most probably expensive hotel. But, it made me squeal.
I found Hôtel Le 123 Elysées from a search and oohed and ahhhed over the details. Our room was two single beds placed next to each other which worked fine for space. It was the most gorgeous hotel that it made me squeal – what a way to experience Paris! To book, click here.
The hotel is located in an incredibly fantastic place in the city in Paris, right by the Avenue des Champs Elysées. This avenue is where you will definitely want to go, also the bus tour has multiple stops along this busy road.
Just a few blocks around the corner, here I am by the Arc with my baguette! I didn’t want to eat it, I really just wanted to walk down the avenue with it and take a photo. Do I look Parisian? How about ParASIAN?
After we grabbed a bite to eat – it was rainy and a bit overcast, we used our Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour I preordered and decided to just see Paris for a few hours and decide what we wanted to really see the next day.
On our second day, it was our full day there. We decided to walk and utilize the bus tour again (we got a 2-day pass) to get us to where we wanted to go. There was so much to see but Fawn and I really just wanted to shop and walk around to be completely honest. When in France, do what the French do…shop!
I had a few things on my wish list to see, Notre Dame was definitely one.
I know this bridge is famous, but I forgot the name. Someone fill in the blank for me.
As Fawn and I walked around the streets with a mission in mind – shopping, a bus nearly run us over and through a narrow opening of a building. We poked our heads inside, curious. It wasn’t a pedestrian entrance but we decided to proceed by walking through and we stumbled into the Louvre! You should have seen how big our eyes got as if we just discovered a hidden treasure. We then got carried away with excitement, clearly.
We spent the rest of our day going up and down the stairs giggling, searching, and finding 9 out of 10 favorites. We couldn’t find the Lacemaker and asked a worker where she was only to find she was on tour in Japan!
Here we are proud of our check off list.
A walk back to our hotel…admiring the lovely Arc de Triomphe – did you know there are several of these throughout France? The one in Paris is the original and most well-known of course but there are several versions.
The loveliest sight of them all. The top is blue so it’s the French flag colors. It was a rainy, drizzly night, just how I like it.
What is it about flower shops in Paris that make us stop and take our breath away?
Just a few sights from taking the last bus round back…
Back to our sweet hotel…
Where the lights were glitter…
And the floor sparkled…
Sweetest dreams, Paris.
I genuinely loved reading all of the places you hope to visit in France some day and I know the French Tourism PR enjoyed reading them. I know you are wondering about the French Goodies winner!
Winner: Faline / 1st runner-up: Carissa / 2nd runner-up: Hogan
I decided to do a few extra goodies. Every time I travel some place special I’m bringing something back for one of you, I like hearing from you all. That way, you’ll have more chances to enjoy a few goodies from other places.
Just for a week, I haven’t taken time off from blogging for a long time since I decided to blog daily. I’m going home to Nor Cal tomorrow for 10 days and I have a lot of reading, lake walks, and time with my parents to enjoy. You can see what I’m up to on Instagram (@dianaelizabeth_). I’ll be back the following Monday. I appreciate you all reading and commenting, have a fantastic weekend! xx Di
Diana Elizabeth’s college dog Yorkie turned parents dog is named Paris. He’s pretty darn cute. Yes, she said he.
Pants: Morning Lavender
Ten full days of France, plus two days of travel, means a whole lot of packing. Somehow, I came back with half my clothes and the other half of my suitcase was full of things I bought. Sorry product links won’t happen much since a majority of these items are older or vintage. If they are still available I’ll list them. Remember, you can be creative!
It takes the same amount of time to dress plain than it does to dress cute (thanks for saying that Brenna).
Remember, I already planned leaving a lot of my clothes and shoes behind (I left a pair of my Sam Edelman ballet flats behind, as they got ruined in the rain in Aix). Oh well, I replaced the space with something better!
I also got photobombed a bit, especially by vespas. I didn’t mind. I mean really, how many places can you get a vespa in your photo?
See this one. He looks like he was speeding up to get in my photo.
Dresses were easy.
And those vintage skirts I never wore, finally looked great in France! But really, doesn’t everything and everybody look better in France?
Adding a top (crochet or lace) over a tired maxi skirt also helps. I belted a scarf to make it more unique.
If you forget something, just buy a new top, like I did! Fabric made in France, I bought this top from one of the markets in Aix-en-Provence and paired it with linen pants I brought.
An oldie but goodie Anthro top with shorts. Welcome to my palace!
The perfect dress to boat down the Canal du Midi, don’t you think?
There were also quite a few outfit changes as it was warm and only lightly humid – but we were also very busy all day so a quick shower before dinner was always necessary, so I had two wear two outfits a day. Good thing I packed enough!
Here’s something you might get a kick out of, in France, they only have sales twice a year, they last for about a month and a half. It’s law, they aren’t forced to do it, (trust me, I wanted Hermes to have a sale but they didn’t), but it’s the only time they can do it, as I was told. ”SOLDES” is said like “Sold” and that means sale.
The day we arrived into Montpellier, it was the first day of the big sales. It was craaaazy.
Isn’t it also crazy that on Sundays the stores are closed, most anyway. The Galeries Lafayette (high end) is open, but closes early – by the way, sales they have on their tags apply only if you have their card.
As a huge shopper I couldn’t imagine life with sales only twice a year. Gosh dang we are lucky in America, aren’t we? The freedom of sales anytime! *wink* Although I gotta tell you, French fashion is just stunning, the quality, creativity, I took interest to multiple French clothing lines.
I fell in love with this 100% silk scarf from Souleiado - (different print). I was looking for a memorable piece of jewelry as a souvenir but couldn’t find anything unique enough and saw this scarf which was created in France and begged to drape my shoulders and be twisted on my head. Some of you might know Liberty London, Souleiado prints are very popular in Southern Europe, and um, quite pricey. Their items are gorgeous, see their fashion look book, the photography is stunning!
I also found this unique soap holder, of course, made in France. Marseille is known for their soap – made from olive oil. Isn’t this cool? Good news, if you really like it, I found one online too here while looking for refills. Mr. Wonderful said I probably should’t mount it unless I could find refills, and, done.
Did you notice the pink scrubby towel under it? Have you ever considered going to a supermarket in another country just to see what they use? Of course see the “Made in France” logo, as in France, not much is made in China. The kitchen cleaning towels were under 3 euros.
I also knew I had to get an olive wood piece and loved this ladle, it was 14 euros. The tablecloths under it are French fabrics, so so so so divine. I bought two, plus six matching napkins. The cost of the tablecloths vary from 20-35 euros.
So this is all the stuff I bought. No wonder I didn’t have room. Yep, that’s pink sugar and olive oil in an Eiffel Tower glass. I had a quick layover in Paris and since I didn’t have much room the last time I was in Paris to buy much, I figured I’d dump all my euros and buy a few more things.
There’s a lavender sachet – also a must-buy especially in Aix, and more towels, candy, and I also came home with six tea towels, my favorite souvenir of choice, but again, I won’t be keeping them all.
Speaking of not keeping things, I did also bring back stuff with you in mind, truly. The fact that this took up space in my suitcase means I really really love my readers.
How about this adorable tin I picked up from the Roy Rene Calissons factory.
But wait! That’s not it! I also got a soap from Nice, a towel from Montpellier, candy from Aix – note this candy has almonds so if you are allergic to nuts don’t eat it! There is also a small glass wine stopper from Château La Coste in Aix. Everything is made in France so it’s a special treat!
US residents only because I’m not sure how to ship internationally, sorry, I still love you international readers! Comments close tomorrow, Thursday at 5 p.m. Arizona time, I gotta make it brief so this is a quick giveaway – I have to mail this out before I take off again! Winner selected at random so just leave a comment :)
Diana Elizabeth only felt slightly guilty when she left things behind, but she needed the space and she knew some things would never come out of the closet again. A photo in it was all she needed!
Staring from Nice and working our way slowly west, we had to return to a city with an airport to eventually return home to the States. Montpellier is a very large city filled with lots of students and international students, a young crowd. We only had half day and really a few hours to see Montpellier after a lengthy drive from Le Somail after leaving our Le Boat fun down the Canal du Midi.
There’s quite a bit of history in this city, lots to see if you take the time to grab a tourist map and see the Historical Montpellier. There is a lot to see while you can also check out the shopping on your way. Since we only had a few hours I wasn’t able to give as much time as I wanted to this city, but it’s a lovely location to walk the streets, of course lots of decisions when it comes to food. There’s a pretty park that you can’t miss right in the middle of the plaza area. Visit the Montpellier tourism site here.
We were starving so we found a little spot to eat. It was around 3 p.m. and many restaurants were no longer serving lunch as they were out of food and getting ready for dinner. So eat when the French do or starve. But we did find a place that was serving, so just ask around.
For lunch I decided to cater to my sweet tooth and get a banana Nutella crepe with vanilla ice cream. I should also clarify that it’s pronounced “krepe” not “cray-pe” as us Americans say. I’m not sure where we put the “A” vowel in the word but I’ve come to the conclusion we have butchered many words. Did you know “tampon” means stamp in French?
The drink of choice in France, Orangina! I have loved this drink as my local LGO has this and it’s a treat. I drank way too many of these.
Oddly enough during lunch a storm rolled in and just poured on us, but only for a few minutes as we waited for it to pass so we could explore the city.
The Arc de Triomphe. Now I know you’re thinking as I thought, wait, isn’t this in Paris? Well, apparently there are many of these in the country, not just Paris. This one was created in the 17th century to honor Louis XIV and was built where one of the gates of the rampart used to be.
We got the access to go up top as we were press and wow look at this view! Thanks to Crystal for this awesome photo, my favorite. She was so patient with me taking photos of me, I am so thankful.
I believe I was yelling, “I love France!!!!!” from the top of the Arc. I mean, what better place, right?
Can I stay, pretty please?
Let me also briefly tell you about me waving around the wrong flag around town. But first, let me explain that I know what the France flag looks like before the mishap. I had purchased a blue, white, and red striped flag from a tent selling World Cup memorabilia. I started waving the flag around town, taking photos with it (including the top of the Arc) and I reviewed the photo off my camera right. ”Wait a second,” I said, “Those stripes are going the wrong way, is my flag broken?” I freaking bought the Netherlands flag. And this dumb American was waving it around the Arc taking photos. HOWEVER, for the record none of my other blogger friends even noticed, nor the France gal giving us the tour, so it was an easy mistake, but I caught it in time! THANK GOD! You know, before I started waving it around the streets at night during the World Cup game and got spit on.
Tsk tsk, what happened was the flag I purchased was displayed sideways, so I saw it the CORRECT way of the France flag. So for the record, that guy probably knew I wanted a France flag but sold it to me anyway. I want my 3 euros back. I suppose I made some funny memories for everyone else at my expense. I shall never show you those photos on my blog.
We saw a medieval Mikve used by the Jewish who used it to purify their bodies before a lot of the holidays. This was also an exclusive because we were press. I believe I was told it was around since the 11th century but again, I’m bad at numbers so I could be wrong. They build where natural water comes in and it is very cold. They dip themselves in it, not to wash themselves. Observe how clear the water is which is also 10 degrees Celsius.
A little dinner at La Panacée. Even though this was really amazing to see inside, we decided to enjoy tapas outdoors since the weather was so lovely.
The kitchen staff was so excited we were Americans they made us a special plate!
The World Cup was on TVs set outside by restaurants and everyone was outside cheering which was an amazing experience to observe, listen, and cheer for France. I was genuinely rooting for France to win all their games. I know, I’m not quite patriotic, they still let me back in the States but when one spends 10 full days in France exploring it in unique ways, well, of course I’m going to fall madly in love with everything about it!
Oh, goodnight France, what a way to end a lovely trip. We said our goodbyes with long hugs and sweet words, sad that our adventure had come to an end – that moment you wish wasn’t happening so soon, that time when you know as soon as you said hello that before you would know it, you’d have to say goodbyes. I will forever treasure my time with my sweet blogging friends and hope one day we can travel again together, as we all bring a unique background and specialty to the blogging world.
Have you seen my 3 minute video tour of France? Click here.
Diana Elizabeth is ready to give you some tips about visiting France, a few more travel tip advice and also a France giveaway! Stay tuned and make sure you don’t miss it.
Hi! I’m Diana Elizabeth, named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, writer, model and wife. Welcome to my blog!
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