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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When I first started photography I decided backlighting was my thing.  It’s that natural light photographer I don’t know how to use my flash properly and I am not sure about the look but I’ll also pretend it’s just not my style kinda thing – let’s be real.

While I do understand flash and how to use it, I’m just going to say I don’t like lugging lights around or backdrops so I choose to be more natural in terms of lighting.  Now I can really tell you I don’t mind flash and I understand it, but I’m now lazy and I don’t want to do it.  However, the idea of backlighting and thinking that your subject has to face their shadow straight on, well that’s changed for me.  You may have read this post where I talk about finding the light but in this post I want to talk about it from the side.

I would say if you’re a fan of backlighting, don’t forget it blows out your skies, and don’t overthink backlighting so much that you miss out on the nice view behind.

I also think lighting from the side is just fine.  I’m going to show examples, and most of these images you’ve already seen before but may not have paid much attention to lighting.

Yes this is perfect backlighting:

Everything about this shot was perfect, including the background.  But in some instances, it might be trickier and I want to challenge you to not freak out if your subject has sun on one side of their face because this is just a different lighting scenario.  It’s not incorrect, but you can still feel this is your style.

Lighting directly from the side:

Do you now spot what I’m saying?  Don’t miss out on a pretty backdrop just because you’re scared of shadows or you think everyone has to have the sun behind them.  Having light come from one direction isn’t just for studio lighting or drama, it can be done outdoors and be very pretty.

Now let’s look at inside.

Inside window light, to the side:

And if you really like to backlight, and maybe you do want flash, you can try this:

Happy shooting, don’t overthink it!

Diana Elizabeth always thought she had to have the light behind but that really limits how you can shoot.  Also keep in mind that if it looks good, it looks good!



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I may or may not already started collecting these things slowly this spring…  Don’t you love the colors?

Diana Elizabeth loves orange and pink, and gold, clearly.  She is wanting the knot earrings really bad, she needs a good pair!


Yay!  I can now shave my legs and not miss spots because I have light when I shower.

Have you seen the new trend of half shower glass doors?  They were all fancy over London and Ireland in our hotels that I knew I wanted to do it too!  I went with the thickest glass, 1/2″ because I think substantial and spending the money is just worth it when it comes to something you won’t replace for like, ever.

Sorry about my lines, I had to pick one to line up and being scrunched in a corner to take it with my widest lens, that just didn’t work out how I planned.  These are not professional!

bathroom-subway-tile-half-shower-glass-1 bathroom-subway-tile-half-shower-glass-3 bathroom-subway-tile-half-shower-glass

Thanks to A Touch of Glass, who did this in a week. I love those guys!

Gosh now I need to find some prettier containers to go in my shower now that everyone who uses my bathroom will see my things.

Diana Elizabeth took this photo after her cleaning lady left, because this will probably be the only time it will look so good!


balboa 2007 in Balboa, Calif.

Today I’m on my way with four girlfriends and one more flying in from the OC to meet in Las Vegas.  What happened from a suggestion of a Britney Spears show turned to reality of – none of us actually wanted to see her show, turned into a, hey one of us has free hotel night stays, turned into – let’s do a group vacation!

We haven’t done a group vacation for a long while, though we see each other regularly.  The last time was before babies were in the picture.  So it will be shopping, eating, laying out by the pool in so-called grandma swimsuits (I will soon find out what on Earth my girlfriends are talking about), and relaxing.

I’m going to leave my travel gear nearby as spring/summer come around and I have travels on the books – Dallas, France, Nor Cal, So Cal, and Oregon to start.  Yes, I said France. I can’t wait to tell you about it!!!!

I’ve been really overwhelmed these last few months.  So much in fact that I gave myself one of those paralyzing migraines where I couldn’t do anything all day and laid on the couch and slept, wanted to throw up, and my whole body just hurt.  It was one of those days where just going to bed and starting over the next day would be the only solution.  Have you ever had one of those sickness experiences you know is triggered by overwhelmingness of things to do?  I finally had to let things go so I could focus and get my priorities straight.  I fail miserably at being perfect that I’ve come to accept that every failure is an opportunity to learn and be humble.  I need to be a good stewart of the time God has given me so that means doing less and being more in a different area – one that might not pay, but one that has more rewards later.

On another note – if any of you have heard of the famous Jasmine Star, Mr. Wonderful and I will be modeling for her and a fantastic team on Monday.  If you follow her on IG you might catch a few sneak peeks, but I’ll be sure to give you a little wrap up next Friday on everything.  I hope you all have a smashing good weekend!

Diana Elizabeth will pack the car and have all the food goodies for the car ride, like a mom, only she’s the non mom in the group.


How about a few before and after photos to really show you what we’ve done to our backyard?

Way before:

Later before:


After (new tree by the outdoor sink in the back):



I placed flags where I wanted the new trees to be planted.  It made for an entertaining conversation with the nursery, “That’s not the gas line, right?”  Oh, no, I just took those flags and moved them, haha!





Before - too many random bushes and plants:

After, add two more desert honeysuckle and another climbing rose which will be pink and bloom all the time!:








Oh, and the buns really like the purple lilac vines I added to their area.

“Oh hey, this tastes wonderful, thanks!”

“Hey London, you should try getting back here, it’s even better from this position.”

I am pretty sure we are done until we replace the wood fence in the back with the white smooth stucco and brick border on the top.  I’ll probably do the creeping fig (as seen on the walls at Biltmore Fashion Park) since they will be shaded on that side.  I don’t anticipate that happening for another few years or so, but you never know with us.

We are going to have so much shade I can’t wait.  Then come fall/winter, the leaves will drop and we can warm up in the backyard.

If you want to read about the brick we’ve added (and still need to for our newly planted trees), see today’s post on The Heirloom Home.

Diana Elizabeth is looking for a few more low outdoor seating for the bunny area, but it must be cheap.  She’s on the hunt this summer for a good bargain!

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1932617_10101263083662075_399009486_o Photo taken by my brother who loves attending air shows

My brother should write this post since I am not an expert at attending air shows and taking photos and he is really good.  Recently, Benjamin and I went with him to the Luke Air Force Air Base Show in Phoenix which was a blast from the past.  My mom and dad used to take us to air shows all the time growing up.  In fact, it’s no wonder why Blake loves them so much, look at him.


If you are planning on attending air shows this season or taking your little ones because they love these sort of things like most boys do, you may want to bring your camera along to take some pics and hang in their room.  Here are a few tips from a gal who is not truly experienced in this and just giving you some off the cuff advice.  I’ll let my brother comment on this post for more tips, I am certain he will have a lot to say about this.

Air show picture taking tips:

  • Listen for the Photo Pass” opportunities. which you will hear on the speaker if you are close enough to hear is referred to when the aircraft passes low in front coming towards you.  It’s the best time to take a photo of the plane – where you can get the top and side of the plane.  Also…
  • You want to see the top of the plane in air, not bottom or rear. So this means hoping the plane will turn or twist as it’s overhead.  Also taking photos as the plane is coming at you, not in front, and not past.
  • Set focus to auto focus/multi focus. You will not be able to center the plane as it’s flying through the air or do manual focus.  Good luck, because I figured that one out quickly.  Also against a clean open sky your camera will know what to focus on – the thing that’s moving.
  • You may have to spray and pray.  Terrible photography tip isn’t it?  Well, if your’e shooting into the sun like I was, I couldn’t tell what the heck I was getting or where the planes were going so I just kept shooting.  Whatever, the plane isn’t my client and it’s not paying me so I can give you this bad photography tip.
  • Continuous shutter.  During shows they pass through each other, twist, do this and that, so you don’t wan to miss it.  Edit down later.
  • Fast shutter speed.  Obvi.  Don’t forget to pan with the plane as it goes by.
  • Bring a telephoto.  Or your highest zoom lens and crop/edit later in post for the zoom effect.
  • Let plane have “room” to fly into. Pay attention to composition so as your plane is heading into a direction, let it have some blue skies of space in front of it.  This will make for a much better photo than centering it.
  • Do not expect to get a pic of you and the plane. Unfortunately people (primarily old) are sitting under the wings for shade.  If you want good pics, go early and be amongst the first to enter.

Additional tips from my brother:

  • The best places to stand depend of the type of picture you are trying to get. For take-off and taxi, the best place to stand is as close to the airstrip as possible for an unhindered view. This however is not the best place to be when the aircraft are in the air as you are more likely to get pictures of the underside of the aircraft as it passes over you. A fair distance away with a zoom lens is best.
  • If stadium seating is available, getting higher is better however the back row is not desirable as people in the last row tend to stand up blocking your views to your left and right. Seating one or two rows forward from the back is best. You can stay seated comfortably throughout the day, often resting your elbow on your knees to help stabilize that heavy zoom lens for the perfect shot.

Let’s look at some of my examples.  First, I should tell you I did not use a telephoto and my most zoom was at 55mm.  Weak!  I should also tell you these were on my Sony NEX-5R (c/0) + 18-55mm (c/o).  I knew I should bring a telephoto but I didn’t care so much so this is what I got most of the time:


I show this not to mislead you.  I brought all my images into Lightroom and just cropped strategically as so, to get these images:

luke-air-show-taking-airshow-picture-tips-photography-156 luke-air-show-taking-airshow-picture-tips-photography-149 luke-air-show-taking-airshow-picture-tips-photography-154 luke-air-show-taking-airshow-picture-tips-photography-147

This is a great example of my spray and pray method – I had no idea what I was looking at because the sun was right in my camera.  Decent though, right?


I could definitely zoom in more and not have so much sky space, but I think I like it cute and small in the air.  Let’s be frank, if I took my 70-200mm f/2.8 and my Mark III, I’d be winning but for that day, I’m more than OK with these.  He’s upside down!

luke-air-show-taking-airshow-picture-tips-photography-116 luke-air-show-taking-airshow-picture-tips-photography-117

Here’s one by Blake, with his Nikon (he had to go get Nikon just to be different than me, that’s just how it works):


Here is where continuous shutter speed with multi sensor focus comes in:

luke-air-show-taking-airshow-picture-tips-photography-157 luke-air-show-taking-airshow-picture-tips-photography-158

Ta-da!  Ok, I don’t know what I’ll be doing with any of these images but thought I’d share them with you for your future air show trips!  A few random tips – wear a hat, bring sunscreen, and expect once you think you are going to get to the destination, it’ll probably be another 90 minutes of getting there – traffic, parking, walking, etc.  Just enjoy!

Diana Elizabeth remembered why she liked going when she was little, she had so much fun and ate lots of random food.  Not good, just random. 


I decided for our triple date with friends to do a little J.Crew with Ralph Lauren.  I am a girl from the suburbs of Northern California, I never forget it.  I’m also thoroughly enjoying the weather here as of lately.


Blazer: Ralph Lauren (similiar, similar) / Stripe shirt: J.Crew (similar, similar) / Link Bracelet: J.Crew / Belt: J.Crew (similar, similar) / Jeans: AG / Shades: Tom Ford / Earrings: Anthropologie

photo_2 photo

I know not a lot of people liked the US Winter Olympics outfits by Ralph Lauren, but Mr. Wonderful and I actually did.  We thought that only us crazy patriotic Americans could pull something so awesome and obnoxiously patriotic off.  And for  $595, it’s sold out online so I guess we’re not alone.

I do have to say those cute little loafer shoes – oh my they hurt my feet after an hour of walking that I had to change into flip flops.  Good thing I keep an emergency pair in the back of my car – you know, for those emergency pedicures.

Diana Elizabeth donated those shoes that were too small.  Oops.


I have this weird thing for comfy pants, it’s my ultimate weakness.  This is especially a nice thing on weekends when you need to run errands, do laundry, or just be still like broccoli and veg.  I was thrilled to receive this pair in the mail.

pants pants2 Shirt: Sammy Dress c/o / Denim Jacket: J.Crew (similar) / Pants: Sammy Dress c/0 /
Scalloped Flats: MIA / Purse: Louis Vuitton

I love the waist pleats and slight peg leg, you tuck in your shirt and really show off the pant, or just wear them normally.  Do you think you could wear pants like these? I know it’s daring!  I wore these with a neon top and tucked it in and it looked super cute too!


In the winter time it would be so darling with some knitted or sheepskin boots too!

Here are a few more fun pants that I have my eyes on.

jpeg-1 NSF Polka-Dot Joggers

These would be my garden pants:

30775332_079_b Floral Terry Pants

You could get these monogrammed – ah!


$70 at J.Crew

I think I want gray with navy monogramming.  Think what you may about sweatpants, but I think if you add a monogram, that makes it so savage.

Oh dear.  Pants pants pants.  My ultimate weakness!

Diana Elizabeth calls sweatpants – airport pants, and now she’ll call them joggers.


A few random home improvement and personal updates.

We went to the Luke Air Show.  I have a post coming up next week on how to take decent pictures of an air show when you go this season.   I think I got my base tan now, Vegas here I come.


We hung a bamboo shade in our kitchen.  And now I want to add them to my office, Mr. Wonderful’s office/guest room and well, all of our rooms.  Such a nice east coast feel, I think this is an upgrade we need to replace our white wood blinds, but not sure yet, we had some minor complications with hanging them because we live in an old house.





Blinds in Bamboo Tortoise by Select Blinds

We had 4 new trees planted and a bunch of plants.  Whitfill Nursery comes at least twice a year with big orders but I think I might be just about done with our backyard.  Here’s a quick photo of what it looks like now.


One more to shade the bunny area:


We’re getting a new glass door installed in our second bathroom (my bathroom), update post coming soon.  So my Anthro shower curtain will be gone and sent to my mother who is crazy in love with it:


Knitting is going well.  This seed scarf:

WT-seed-stitch-wrap-600-2 See on

Well I’m still on skein color one, and with 99 cast ons, and five more colors to go, at this rate I should be done by next winter.

Small blue rice basket by Fringe Supply Co. (a new favorite store of mine)

My obsession has now carried over to ordering 2 skeins to make the adult version of this:

fun-kids-hat-2-425 See on

Yep, I will totally wear it, isn’t it darling?  I should complete that in two years time since I’m backed up on my to-do wish list.  Finding the Gypsy Garden by Knit Collage in Kinari Bazaar was a tough thing, it’s sold out everywhere.  Found it here.  Summer is in just a few months time and I think I will have plenty of indoor time to do projects like this.  And since I’m slow, I think I’ll be done by the time I can wear my creations.

Speaking of summer crafting projects, add this to my new sewing to do list, because I get to sew another laundry room curtain!


Thanks Liberty.

I decided on my investment purse that will hold me over for the next 2-3 years.


Oh yes, come to mama.

Diana Elizabeth also wants to add another garden bed due to the suggestion of Noelle Johnson (  So that will now be in the works this fall!

Home, Life

MelissaSchollaert_HeirloomHome-00070 Photo by Melissa Schollaert

Last December my good friends, photographer Melissa Schollaert, makeup artist Lizzy Marsh, and event designer Angela Saban came over for half a day of having fun and creating together.

We laughed, played, created and I was in my happy place – my home gardening and playing with bunnies.

I’m sharing the first set of beautiful work of Melissa Schollaert on The Heirloom Home Blog today, head on over.

Diana Elizabeth is going to enjoy being outside as much as she can until May hits!


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