My name is Diana Elizabeth. I'm a journalist, photographer, graphic designer and FORD 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, gardening, and John Mayer and Twilight. This is a glimpse into my life and work.

Get In Touch

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Hi! I thought I’d throw up a quick Sunday night post to say hello from Nor Cal, I’m back home for a week and a half visiting my parents and trying to avoid the Phoenix heat.  After this trip I have a week back in Phoenix and then I’m off to NY for a fantastic wedding I’m photographing!  By the time I return the weather will be just perfect and I’ll stay put in Phoenix, as far as I know – hee hee.

Paris is almost 12 years old and the first morning it was pretty precious – he forgot I was home!  I called his name from the stairs and he kept running back and forth to mom and dad because they are typically the only ones home.  He was so confused until he saw me and realized, I was home!  He forgot!   He was excited all over again as if he saw me for the first time and it was just precious.  What can I say, he’s getting a little old.

I got here Friday afternoon, the Phoenix airport was pretty busy – Friday summers are packed because everyone is trying to get out of dodge, typically for just a quick weekend.

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I have this thing for not wearing opened toed shoes for flights over 1 hour.  The longer the flight the higher the altitude which can make my toes feel super cold!  Overseas flights especially, I’m all bundled up!  These foldable flats by Yosi Samra in so many different styles, I love that they fold up in your bag.

I never know which gate I am by, I always hope it’s by the LGO, but this time I was happy to see Cartel and got the yummiest iced vanilla latte.  I have to admit I am not a Starbucks fan, I find myself nursing the drink all day, it’s just so hard for me to drink!  The only way I can drink it is if I order a tall for the milk to espresso shot ratio, just too bitter for me.

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About to land in Sacramento – yep, lots of farm land!  Did you have any idea?  Betcha didn’t!

With all my traveling lately I sure wish Southwest Airlines would sponsor my blog – as if they needed the publicity.

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I was happy to find my mom finished my seed stitch scarf.  Each row is 99 stitches and there are probably 70+ rows of each skein, I’m bad at guessing, but I’ll also guess that means it’s over 1,000 stitches.  I did bind off in the seed stitch so I kinda felt like I was able to “complete” it even though mom did the tedious part I just couldn’t do anymore!  I need a break from knitting!

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The best snacks come in cute little bowls – now I know where I get it.  My mom gave me a little antique bowl of washed strawberries for a snack.

Is that weird that I caption my photos before the photo? I just think it makes more sense when you scroll down, it’s in order.  I might be weird.

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In other news, I went to church with mom and dad and got to worship with Lincoln Brewster!  He’s the worship leader of our church back home – I seriously look so much forward to it every time I go home that I always try to make it to two Sundays that’s how much I  love my church back home.

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Lincoln Brewster’s new album called Oxygen comes out this Tuesday.  He had a pre-sale at church and dad bought three of them, one for me.  I wasn’t sure how creative to get with photographing an album so I made my dog sit with it.  He looks pretty excited.

Hope you are all having a restful Sunday.

Diana Elizabeth will start seeing high school friends this week!  She also has an equestrian shoot this week too.

Life, West Coast

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When I was a little girl, probably in the 2nd grade, my mom cut my hair above my shoulders and I cried the entire time.  In college, I went to get my hair cut and the stylist I had been going to for years who knew I loved my long tresses cut my hair right below my shoulders – I put my hair in a ponytail until it grew out and never saw her again.

Of course I think as humans we all have preferences on how we prefer we look – but sometimes you have to think, Is it really because I look better this way or Is this an unhealthy security blanket?  I found security in my hair, I can’t explain it, it sounds ridiculous and it wasn’t this way all the time.  Or perhaps it was, but I never realized it because I always left my hair long.  Security turned into an idol.  Now not all women who have long hair idolize their hair.  But for me, deep down, I knew there was something wrong. I kept looking at photos of myself and thought, it just looked too long, but why couldn’t I seem to cut more? Why was it giving me anxiety that even when I went for a trim I’d come home and declare, “It’s too short!” ?

I’ve had many idols in my life.  Some were things, vanity, other times it was a person, or a goal.  My idols have changed and lessoned as I’ve matured spiritually and come to acknowledge them.  I know people who have idols of things that I particularly couldn’t ever imagine  idolizing (at least it’s not for me at the moment) – idols change and they hold different weight depending on who you are.  None of us though are ever free from them.

I had never cut my hair short since that accidental college chop I mentioned earlier in this post.  But then I did it this summer – you may or may not have noticed and if you didn’t, you may be thinking I could’ve gone shorter to really make a point.  The cut was a cut, one I would have never done before and two months later, I went back and cut it again.  I actually walked away disappointed my hair wasn’t shorter – such a change.  Something happened after that.  There’s a feeling of freedom – I can cut my hair and I can grow it out, what-ev-er.  It’s just hair, it’ll grow back. Honestly, I’ll probably let it go long this fall because I think I my fall outfits will look better with longer hair, and I may cut it when it annoys me again.  That’s just one recent example of my latest idol.  Hair – so silly.

There’s something about letting go and realizing you’re still the same person with or without your idol.  Your idol is just a temporary fixation making something more important and bigger than life and God.  It’s putting too much weight on something that won’t last forever – beauty, a thing, person, job, car, home, you pick your poison.  How do you know if you have one?  What creates fear in you if you suddenly lost it?  What can’t you give up right now?  There’s your answer.

Once you admit it, do something – let it go in your heart, cut the ties.  It’ll be so freeing.  Chop chop.

Have you ever realized you had a security blanket/idol? What did you do to free yourself from it?

{Photo by Melissa Louise for Kokoon}  Outfit:  Kokoon top / Free People denim

Diana Elizabeth believes if you idolize something, you can let it go in your heart and still have it in your life – with a different perspective.  Getting rid of an idol doesn’t necessarily mean you have to say goodbye physically, but other times, you may.

Life

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I think this is my first recipe I’m sharing.  Oh dear.  I swear to the moon and back that you will LOVE this!  What is Bircher Museli?  Well, there are many versions of it – it’s pretty much oats, grains, nuts, yogurt and fruit – many different varieties.

Guests always ask for the recipe and it doesn’t take a lot of time and you do not need the exact amount of ingredients.  Eyeball everything, add more of what you want, take things away.  See how I cook?

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Ingredients

  • Old Fashioned Quaker Oats (not quick oats)
  • Milk or soy
  • 1 thinly sliced banana
  • 1 thinly sliced orange
  • 1 grated (with skin) granny smith apple
  • Handful of blueberries (can be frozen and de thawed)
  • Almond slices
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt

Know that these ingredients are estimations, you never have to measure, other than having a whole piece of fruit.

Steps

  1. Fill a bowl with the Old Fashioned Quaker Oats and milk just so the oats can soak in the milk.
  2. Prep the fruit (slice, dethaw if frozen, grate) and put into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Drain access milk from oat and milk bowl if needed, then add to the large mixing bowl.
  4. Stir in vanilla yogurt to desire of creaminess
  5. Add handful of almond slices on top!

Serves 3-4.  You can change ingredients depending on the season and preference.  Leftovers will keep for one day – but best eaten the same day.

Diana Elizabeth loves different versions of museli, if you have one, share it with her.

Home

Ha – get it. It was 3:30 p.m. on a day when I needed to take pictures of some polish for a blog post.  I went around the house (because outside is too hot and I was also still in my pajamas – don’t judge me).

As I tried to find good lighting, I thought these shots would turn into a good blog post on lighting.

Backlighting

Let’s start with the obvious, go-to lighting type – backlighting.  While it’s definitely a good go-to way for portraits, this is just a terrible photo.  The background is blown out and while it might be the first thought of good photography, I’m going to be real – not all backlighting is good.  This is a perfect example.  Why backlight inside? In some cases it might be great but in this instance, I don’t think so.

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Window Light

I turned the polishes around to get the window lighting – much better.  I’m not absolutely crazy about the background light, I could have pulled the curtains to have less distractions and diffuse the light in the back.  This shot was better than the first shot but it still didn’t do it for me.  My kitchen lighting during that time was a bit too dark and the polished look dark therefore this photo just looked drab.

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Bird’s eye

I think of this lighting is fun, maybe for small objects.  I’m always thinking wedding details.  I do think wedding details should be outside – even if it’s blazing hot outside because you can’t beat natural light.  I think an aerial view is still fun especially if you find a good texture – like my concrete island.  In this case, I don’t think my background complimented what I was photographing.

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Side window light, lighter room

I walked around my house poking my head into rooms.  Our mirror dresser right by the window that faces south was the answer – the background is light and it was a good contract with the nail polish colors and caps.  The light was coming from my right side as I was looking at these bottles.  This was clearly the winner for these small subjects.

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The key is, don’t be lazy and don’t be scared to try something else.  If you don’t love the photo, take another, move, change the direction of light, change the surrounding.  Do not move onto to the next detail until you feel you nailed your shot.  If you can’t see the object well in that lighting, your camera won’t either, trust your eyes.

Diana Elizabeth says also be cautious about the colors around – warm tones like brick can bounce colors around, this can be fixed in post a bit, but it’s best to try to find what will create less work in post.

Photography

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I can’t wait to wear my favorite print this fall, I paired this silk blouse by Diane von Furstenburg I ordered during the Saks Fifth Avenue sale, with bright colored tie front shorts which has been my summer staple.  I wore a beige cami under to brighten up the print, but come fall I’ll probably be wearing black under.

Earlier this week I put it on and actually paired it with Paige black moto jeans and then looked in the mirror – I was too anxious for fall and it is still 100 degrees out.  I was so disappointed, I would love to live where it’s permanently fall, it’s my favorite season!

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Now what I’m most excited about is changing my nail polish colors to darks!

Diana Elizabeth will change her polish later this week, reds are the best way for the transition!

Style

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I’ve always been healthy – although accident prone which has landed me several times in the ER over my lifetime.  Over the past year I’ve been a little out of it – light headed, forgetful, migraines, fatigue, just really not myself – I even did a sleep test to see if I had sleep apnea because I never felt well rested even after 10 hours of sleep.  Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, I saw a naturopath and the diagnosis was - my body was in shut down mode.

I also never knew I could have low Vitamin D living in such a sunny state (lotions, hard water, getting older will do that to you), and that eating good foods at the right time is really what it’s all about.  No more 11 pm munching and unintentionally fasting until 2 pm.

This is when my best friends stare at me across the table, eyebrows raised and say, “Di, what have I been telling you?” and I change the subject, to, “Oh my gosh, your hair looks SO pretty today!”

I’ve had friends who have solved their health issues simply by a diet change – taking one thing out and it solved everything.  Isn’t that funny how life is like that in general – remove that toxic friend, quit that demanding job, the removal of a single source of pain can change everything.

So I force myself to eat better, drink more water, and be a wee bit more aware that the amazing cinnamon roll won’t give me enough energy as the omelette first thing in the morning.  The trade off truly is much sweeter.

{Photo by Melissa Louise for Kokoon}

Diana Elizabeth now battles the, “I want to do everything now that I am feeling better” bug. Not a completely terrible thing, but she needs to slow it down.

Life

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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.

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It was about 45 minutes of walking to see animals in their cages, monkeys, birds, you know, those sort of things.

It was great aside from a 6 year old in our group who spoke every thought he had, and interrupted the tour guide.  I did however find him mildly entertaining when he kept saying, “The animal next to the butt?” or pointing out animal’s genitals or screaming when the animal would go to the bathroom. I didn’t say I had the finest sense of humor. Onward.

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This giraffe really wanted a weed that he actually nearly tumbled over the gate when his hoof wasn’t stable on the rock. I thought he was going to fall on me.

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In the bird area the birds are not shy.  This crane just stood there and cleaned himself when I walked in.  I almost got turded (it should be a word) on when I tried to take a photo of another bird.  The irony.

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This gorgeous peacock’s feathers makes me think he’s part tiger, leopard and all sorts of other things!

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I wanted one of these red feathers I saw on the ground from this little guy but we weren’t allowed to take any – the safari wanted to keep them for the birds so they could build nests.  Would have been an awesome addition to my hawk feather from Ireland!

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Isn’t the above bird just gorgeous?  I want that guy for a pet.  I’ll trade my bunnies for him.

Also, raise your hand if you totally hate pigeons!  Now what if your pigeons looked like this little guy down here, the blue pigeon?  Yeah can’t hate on him can you?

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Jeep ride time.  You can even sit up top, just watch for the branches!

So once in the Jeep, you drive into a gated area where animals are hanging out in their animal gangs.  They can be super close to the Jeep, get in the way, or walk right up to you – they’re just living in their element.

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I purposefully told my mom to cut off my feet as I did not pack an extra pair of shoes after kayaking and had to deal with it.

Santa Rosa is in Northern California, close to the bay for anyone who isn’t familiar with California.  Even though I’m from California I don’t know where everything is, the state is too dang big and I swear new cities pop up.  You won’t get cell service there by the way, I tried.

Anyway, here are some animals, and as my dad says, now you don’t have to go to Africa.  Took a mixture of these photos with my Sony NEX-5R and Canon Powershot S100.

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Hope you enjoyed the safari with me!  What’s your favorite safari animal?  I think mine would be that crazy multi-printed bird.

Diana Elizabeth doesn’t remember what the names of the animals were hence the lack of captions, oops, sorry.

Life, Travel, West Coast

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I won’t  show you how the garden is doing because it would make my blog ugly.  I will however just say it’s 110 degrees and the only thing that’s doing well is basil, tomatoes and my carrots that I pull up occasionally for my pot roasts.  Even if things were good outside it’s a little too hot to check.  So, I’m letting the garden go.

And clearly I’m feeding the birds unintentionally.

These are neighborhood love birds, I believe.  They sure are a loud bunch but so cute.  They are also completely destroying my sunflowers for an evening snack.

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Hey you two, this is not that kind of backyard – get a room!

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 Hope you’re all having a great week so far and finding time to rest – like Liberty.

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Equipment used: Sony NEX-5R (c/o), 18-105mm f/4 (c/o)

Diana Elizabeth found it amusing and has often seen the hummingbirds and love birds quarrel over backyard perching branches.  Guess she did a good job with the backyard, the birds love it!

Home

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If I had to choose my favorite portrait subject, I would say the expectant mamas!  There’s something so fun about that lovely bump, the glow and the excitement.  I don’t mind if it’s just the mom or the entire fam, if the husband is up for it, fantastic, if not, I’ve got a gorgeous girl to myself and we can go as long as she wants!

Here are some ideas for posing for maternity.

The looking down at the belly shot

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I always prefer the leg closest to me is bent, not the one further from the camera.  If you look at images where the other knee is bent, it just looks off.

Remember you still focus on the face, and make sure belly is in focus.  In certain positions it’s OK if the belly isn’t completely in focus as long as the face is – but when the belly makes the debut and it’s all about the belly…then focus on it!

Placing things in front or on the belly

In this case, Colleen was expecting twins!

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Laying down

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The every day view

As in, the mom’s perspective.

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Sibling love

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Just looking down

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Even with the mama looking down, focus on her face.  Her belly should be on the same perpendicular line that it should fall in focus as well.

Straight on Portrait

The oh hey, I’m gorgeous, and I’m also with child.

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Walking

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Couple Embraces

The overdone twist posing can be complicated – I try not to win creative twister pose award, I’m trying to convey a feeling – a natural, caught in the moment feeling with a couple. Twist if you must, but then find a way to rotate a bit to make it a bit more comfortable looking.

This is one of the most pinned photos of mine on Pinterest, I love the kiss on the head.

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Traditional is not boring, it’s classic.

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This one just worked out so nicely.

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Sassy mama pose

Now cue the wind!

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I’ve always loved this one, maybe it’s due to many factors – the wind, the muted colors, the gorgeous mama!

The baby

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The shoes that will be filled

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Do you shoot maternity?  Do you prefer just the mom or the whole family, or just the couple?  Have you done one yourself and have a preference?

 Diana Elizabeth thinks of the bump as one of the most fun (live) props to work with!

Photography

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Tote // Sunglasses // Necklace
Scarf // Wallet // Monogram Bracelet

I can’t wait to use the blush tote this summer, it’ll be great for traveling with my lightweight laptop and to the beach.  I’ve had my Tom Ford aviators for nearly four plus years and I love them, such a classic but I’m also wanting to add to my sunglass collection as aviators are my favorite type of sunglasses, these black ones should be perfect!  Goodness it’s so fun being a girl!

Have you checked out the new Stella & Dot arrivals?  I’m coveting so many things from there, I even considered becoming an Independent Stylist!

Diana Elizabeth says remember the scarf she was knitting?  She dropped it off back home for her mom to finish, she was so tired of working on it after six skeins, she just wanted her mom to help with the last one since she’s a turbo knitter.

Style

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