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. This is where I share my life daily, as a creative professional.

My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I enjoy traveling, home improvement projects, sewing and gardening. This is a glimpse into my life and work and the things that I discover along the way - with camera in hand.

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guest-room-leopard-print-cheetah-candle-pottery-barn-112Leather Key Chain: Crate & Barrel / Tissue Cover: Handmade / Bowl: Pottery Barn / Candle: Pottery Barn / Frame: Similar / Sheets: Simply Shabby Chic (similar)

It’s guest season, and we just had to say bye to mom and dad before more guests come in, and we are loving it. As long as our guests can handle our no shoe policy (and they always do), I can’t wait for friends and family to come in.  I realize I have yet to show you our guest/Benjamin’s home office room.

For now, I’ll show you a little corner because typically when it’s unused, the bed serves as Benjamin’s second desk and he piles all of his work all over the bed – this means he needs a bigger desk.  We’re working on it but he likes to save money.


I found the cutest guest keychain at Crate & Barrel, I’ve been looking for one and when I came across it it made me so excited!  Also, this cheetah candle is the most divine smelling candle ever.  It’s musky, masculine, yet warm – my nose is very sensitive and I can tell immediately if a candle will make me feel sick.  It’s so beautiful one could use it as a pencil cup holder after the candle is gone!

I bought a few more touches to help guests feel comfy, like a luggage rack from Ballard Designs, and an over the door valet for clothes.

Real Simple magazine came out with a chart of the must-haves for a guest to feel comfortable and so I made my checklist.  I can say we’re pretty much there, but the dream would be to expand so we could have a dedicated guest room, though this can be tough because the reality is, is a dedicated guest room truly necessary?  I want all rooms to be used all the time, so it’s a tough thing for us to decide if it’s worth expanding our home for one. Just a fun thing to dream about!

Decor, Home + Garden

friendship-christian-accountability-friend-iron-sharpens-iron-proverbs-27-17Doors of Notre Dame de Paris

Happy Friday my friends!  I wanted to share what I’ve been going through these past few months and give so much credit to my circle of friends for being such good conscious people to help me through tough situations.

Sometimes we just need to run our life troubles by a good friend or two, or five – ones with a good conscious, perspective and wisdom on what to do.

Over the past few months I’ve been encouraged by my husband, closest friends and small group to react to difficult times or people in a loving way.  While I know what is right from wrong, there can be moments of weakness when I’m overcome with sadness, confusion or anger that I want to react in my own way, while knowing that action may escalate the problem - oh but it would feel oh so good for that split second, right?  

These girlfriends of mine are like little angels sitting on my shoulder outnumbering the little devil on my other shoulder -my flesh.

And sometimes, it’s roll reversal and it’s my turn to be even tempered.

In times like these, these friends save me from myself!  They look at the circumstance as an outsider and find a better way for me to react, to resolve the conflict, or just a prayer or few words of encouragement to allow me to let it be.  Sometimes when I don’t want to be the bigger person, or I know I should be, or I’m tired of being it – they bring me back to being one.

It’s that feeling you want when you call a girlfriend and you kinda of want her to agree with you and say, “Yeah! That’s horrible, do this back!” – like gas that fuels the fire – but the truth is I don’t get that reaction and deep down I’m SO grateful.  What I want is to do the right thing, even when it’s hard.

The thoughts I decided to keep to myself and react on my own, I terribly wish I had only asked for counsel, or took a walk around the block.  Those situations turned ugly are now filed under “life lessons learned” but I’d like that file to be fewer – even if I think I’m in the victim/in the right, there’s no better feeling in knowing that you handled the situation in a way that would be pleasing, and honoring to God.

Let’s surround ourselves with good people with good thoughts that will help us react better to the bad times – and let’s be that person back so we can make the world a much better place for all of us.

Lifestyle, Personal

MelissaSchollaert_HeirloomHome-00212Sommerset Hat

You can tell I’m just itching to get outside every day – I’m eating my dinner on the patio enjoying the sound of birds chirping and bees making their way home to the hive.  I love to spruce up the garden with little touches of personality and revive my garden tools, if needed.  Here are some things I already own and some I have my eyes on –  most around $15-$20, all under $60.

Garden Decor

gardening-blogger-home-decor-tips-bird-bath-mushroom-decor-pots-004 gardening-blogger-home-decor-tipsbunny-rabbit-decor-garden-sign-005

Aged Iron Bird Feeder / Geometric Lattice Pot / Terracotta Mushroom Set
Garden Rabbit Rock / Garden sign /Animal Garden Sculpture

I had galvanized mushrooms but they disappeared after we had our roof done, I think they got accidentally scraped up with the old roof since they are untypical garden decor.  I have a thing for bunny garden decor naturally, but I love that you can finally have them in your garden without them destroying anything.  I have the old rabbit in a tractor garden sculpture but the carrot car is pretty dang cute too.

Fashionable Gardener


Garden Boots / Sommerset Hat / Leather & Linen Garden Gloves

While I own three Hunter wellies, my favorite are floral ones from Target that I can slip easily in and out of.  I’ve linked to a similar pair from Target, I guarantee they will be the ones you wear the most.  The Sommerset hat from Terrain has SPF in it – naturally because of how tightly woven it is.  My garden gloves need to be refreshed so I like finding a fun pair to keep me through the next year.

The Gear


Popup Tote Bag / Fish Fertilizer / Pruning Shears
Seed tin / Tubtrug (various colors) / Galvanized Bin

We have two of the popup totes from Target – one red and one green.  They fold down easily for storage and you can fasten a lawn bag inside for easy disposal.  It’s so lightweight I drag mine all around and throw in clippings.  The best fertilizer is the fish fertilizer you mix with water, it smells horrible but it works so well.  The Chinese put a fish at the bottom of a newly dug hole right before they transplant a new tree – so they are onto something!  I have owned three of these shears – I keep misplacing them so I get a new one.  I have an old antique box for my seeds but this tin one is so cute.  We have the Tubtrug in yellow and it’s amazingly durable – great to load with grapefruits or anything heavy, it’ll hold up!  I also own two of the galvanized bins from Walmart. I put a few bags of fertilizer in it and drag it around my yard, super durable and super adorable too!

Do you have favorite garden supplies or gear you buy every season?

{Photo by Melissa Schollaert}

Gardening, Home + Garden



Continuing with requested photography posts, I’m onto camera settings.  I started my photography hobby with the Canon Rebel XSi, jumped into the 5D Mark II, and upgraded two years ago to the Canon 5D Mark III which has been rocking my world.  While the 5D Mark II certainly changed my photography game from hobbyist to pro, I never truly loved the Mark II with its focal issues.  The Mark III is superior in every way.

To broaden this post, I’ll talk about a few things that can relate to you no matter what camera you use, while also touching upon my personal favorites and settings using the Mark III. Right now there are some amazing deals and packages if you want to upgrade to the Mark III, this one is my favorite, and it’s about $1,000 cheaper than what I paid for the body alone when it first came out.

Firmware Update

Check for Firmware update on Canon site here (Mark III, 7D).

How to update firmware on your camera:

  • Go to the site
  • select your camera model
  • Select Drivers and Software
  • Download it onto a compact flash card
  • Insert the card into your camera
  • Go to settings to find the Firmware version you have and click it to update

Why should you update your firmware?  

New features (sometimes) or bug fixes.  This is the same as if you were running your iPhone or Mac on old software.  When I updated the firmware I didn’t notice any of my custom settings change.

My camera settings

Here’s a screenshot of my custom controls.

This is on the 5D Mark III so some features may not be available.  My favorite features are the silent shooting mode and the two cards.

  • beep - off  // just like texting on your phone, you don’t need to hear every button pushed or focus locking.
  • release shutter without card - off  // incase I forget to insert a card, I don’t want to continue.
  • img type/size - RAW on compact flash card (main card);  S1 on SD card (backup card)  //  I use the SD card for smaller files for my clients – this is for corporate sessions where I want to give them small size so they can go through and select their edited choices.
  • silent LV shoot - mode 1 // I used to envy the sound of Nikon’s shutter. Now Canon makes it pretty, as long as you are using a good lens, of course.
  • file name - DEP_  // It’s nice to label your images, you can do a lengthier one but this works fine for me.
  • LCD brightnessmanual ; 6 // I don’t like when my screen goes dim so I decided to control.
  • copyright information - Diana Elizabeth Photography, // I’m not sure if this works as well as the copyright you can insert in Lightroom, but I have it on there just in case.

Backbutton Focus

I also do back button focus setting to ensure my shots are locked in focus – this is absolutely important and I cannot imagine not controlling my focus.  In fact, because I know how to use my camera and settings well, I know that when I review a shot and it’s not in focus, something is off.

I had that occur while on assignment and it ended up being my lens which went so bad that it ended up needing to be sent to Canon for repairs (no explanation, I assume it was due to travel pressures).  You should know your skills and equipment so well that simply by previewing it you know it’s not user error, it’s equipment error.


I hope that helps explain firmware and why I have the settings I do.  Do you have any favorite settings or new features you love with your camera model?

For Photographers, Photography


I call it a Parisian skirt only because that’s just how I envisioned wearing it or rather, where I would wear it.  This Par-Asian girl needs to get back to France!

For now, this skirt will do.  I bought the shirt from J.Crew too (it’s on sale!).  You know what else I love?  A freshly cut lawn.

jcrew-fashion-blogger-phoenix-arizona-lifestyle-model-111 jcrew-fashion-blogger-phoenix-arizona-lifestyle-model-114jcrew-fashion-blogger-phoenix-arizona-lifestyle-model-111002 jcrew-fashion-blogger-phoenix-arizona-lifestyle-model-116Embroidered eyelet tee / Pleated midi skirt

For sizing reference I’m in size 00 because I wanted it higher on my waist – it’s elastic waistband.  I think in order to prepare for the heat that’s about to hit Phoenix, some cute clothes will help!

Lifestyle, Style


We love visitors, and we especially love time with family.  Mom and dad came in town from Champaign, Illinois for two weeks and the best part was the last week when they moved out of their rented apartment to stay with us.

Liberty who doesn’t seem to like anyone ended up taking a liking to mom – or perhaps mom really took a liking to her – isn’t this so cute?


We ate at Chestnut, a neighborhood favorite – love their cinnamon rolls (request them heated up), but sadly we got there too late on a Sunday because they were out!  I ordered a Short Rib Manwich but found out they had ran out after the meals arrived that I had to quickly pick another dish.  So, I chose the chestnut chicken salad while I munched on Benjamin’s short rib hash which I’ll have to order next time hoping they don’t run out of short rib again and tell me after everyone else’s dish is served.

Arizona won the Pac 12 Championships which meant I had to wear the gear the next day to gloat.  Oh, and this pretty thing had to go up too (blue version, love this one).  We also own this little flag too.


One of our favorite neighbors told me I was bringing the property value down in the neighborhood.  He admitted UofA should have been Seed No. 1 and not No.2, and he had us in the Final Four so I thanked him for setting his pride aside to admit it.  Rivalry can be so much fun, right?  Good luck boys!  That reminds me, I need to text my friend about him getting back his stolen $2 million!

Aside from spring training, shopping, eating out and cooking, we had s’mores last night.  Mom and I started the fire ourselves – I think I had a campfire badge from Girl Scouts.  I’m not sure how to keep it from smoking but my hair smelled like a bonfire.

Here’s our backyard at night – not very bright looking out from the patio.  I’m hoping one of these summers to get more backyard lighting, maybe more lights strung up.


Do you like toasting things over an open flame?  This is the cutest marshmallow twig roaster from Terrain, I had been wanting to use it for years!  We ate them on bunny paper plates from JoAnn’s that I bought last Easter.  Perfect timing!  Fire pit from Target (similar), adirondack chairs from Ace Hardware.


Hope you have a hoppy start to your week!

Lifestyle, Personal


These past few weeks have just flown by – my inlaws are in town, who I lovingly just refer to as mom and dad (but for the sake of blogging just wanted to clarify).  It’s been so fun – dad likes to walk around the home with a screwdriver in his hand and fix everything, loose knobs, toilet paper holders, chairs, and the list I made of home projects all got fixed!  Hurray!

We upgraded the outdoor light sconce with this one from Pottery Barn, then took the old one and moved it to replace an outdoor light fixture I’m not sure why I didn’t replace sooner.

Mom and I have been shopping like, a lot.  She loves shopping just as much as me and being from a small town in Illinois, it’s even more fun to take her to all the amazing shopping and hidden spots here – including the bargain basement, Last Chance!

We also enjoyed opening weekend of spring training – we went to the Dodger/White Sox stadium in Glendale.


I watched the game for maybe 5 minutes, and maybe 30 seconds of it was attentively.  The rest was on my This Old House magazine I brought along and this Dodger Dog that was as long as my thigh.


We sat behind home plate and I only had to sit in the sun for 10 minutes before the shade saved me.


I hadn’t been to a spring training game since college, the weather has been so perfect, any excuse to head outside is a good one for me, even if it’s watching sports. *wink*

Lifestyle, Personal, Southwest, Travel


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