Long overdue updates…

The first four months of 2015 have been a whirlwind of work and personal obligations with a jam-packed social calendar. I don’t think we’ve had a weekend “off” to lounge around and enjoy doing nothing since the first weekend in February! With all that’s been happening it’s been a LONG time between posts and we have much to cover.

Starting in early February we welcomed a slew of visitors… one after another. First we welcomed our friend Thomas, visiting from Germany. He made our place his home base while he explored LA and ventured to beach each day to surf. A week into Thomas’ stay Mathieu came to LA to escape the freezing winter in Montreal. We also got to see another Berlin friend, Artjom, who was spending a few months working in LA. Overlapping with the Berlin boys’ visits we got to see Nate for a few nights when he journeyed out west from Chicago.

In the midst of all our visitors we also had the opportunity to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day this year fell on a Saturday and Dave told me he wanted to take charge of the planning. He surprised me with a fabulous mini-break just a couple miles down the road in Redondo Beach. The day of love began with homemade french toast for breakfast followed by couples massages. After the pampering we drove down to Culver City and spent the afternoon touring the Museum of Jurassic Technology. A really funky and unique spot with exhibits fully immersed in the bizarre. That evening we indulged in some delicious BBQ in Marina del Rey, before retiring to Portofino Hotel for the night. The next day we spent lounging at Manhattan Beach, hanging out by the pool and enjoying some tasty seafood at Captain Kidd’s before another relaxing evening at the Portofino. The next weekend we helped Maddie ring in her 24th birthday with games and Max City at her swanky new apartment.

After a week driving around AZ, Vegas and CA our international friends made it back to LA and we had an extra day with them before they flew out. A few days after saying good bye we celebrated Dave’s 30th Birthday with a seafood dinner and drinks in WEHO. I surprised him with 30 balloons and 30 of my favorite things about him. I also booked a quick weekend getaway at a beachfront hotel down in Oceanside. We spent the weekend rotating between the beach and the rooftop pool before hitting up the Stone Brewery in Escondito for a tour, a tasting and some dinner on the way home.

Mid- March we spent a long weekend in Arizona at Gina’s house catching a few spring training games and cheering on the Dodgers. We drove out on Thursday afternoon and saw games at the Mariner’s stadium, Dodger’s stadium and Giant’s stadium. It was a quick trip, but the weather was great and we had a lot of fun checking out the different complexes and teams.

The day after we returned from AZ it was time for our second rush of visitors- this time the ladies. First we welcomed Jamie (out from Chicago) and hosted her for about a week while she was doing research in the area. The So Cal weather didn’t disappoint and she got to spend some quality time by the pool and lounging in our hammock. A few days after Jamie departed Emily and Lea flew out for a mini-Logger reunion. We did a lot of eating and laughing and even made it out to brunch with another former 2214 roommate, Lauren. The weekend with them flew by, but will get to see them again soon in Wyoming when we celebrate Emily’s nuptials this summer!

The onslaught of visitors departed and all the sudden it was April. I’ve said this before, but April is hell month for admissions professionals. This April was especially overwhelming given the recent turnover of staff in our office. I won’t go into the tedious details, but I’ll say it was pretty stressful and I had a serious countdown to May 1st on my calendar. Luckily, I only had to travel one weekend because I was manning everything on campus so I did get a few days rest in between the crazy weeks. My one weekend away was up in the PNW- so I got to have breakfast with Jessie in Portland and dinner with Jen, Paul and baby Aerin in Seattle. Seeing friends always makes work travel more enjoyable:)

The other weekends in April were spent celebrating Easter in Sierra Madre and attending the LA Times Book Festival. We got up early Easter morning for the traditional Sunrise Service in Wilderness Park then had breakfast in downtown Monrovia. From there we spent the morning wandering through Descanso Gardens and the afternoon playing games and eating ham in the backyard. At the Book Festival we had the opportunity to see Malcolm Gladwell speak and received signed copies of his book, David and Goliath. We also saw an interview with Al Michaels and LA Times sports reporter, Chris Erskine. And since the madness of April has died down we’ve been able to make it to a Dodger’s game, enjoy some time with friends and just hang out together.

We loved welcoming all our visitors even though our quarters are a little cramped and space is soon to be at an even greater premium when we welcome a permanent guest in September of 2015!  In the midst of all that’s been happening this year the biggest and best news yet is a new addition to the Chebuske family due to arrive in September of 2015!


We have a lot to learn and do before Baby C. arrives, but we couldn’t be happier and can’t wait to meet the new addition♥

Until next time…Daverian+1

Home Sweet Home

The fall travel season is over! I’ve loved getting to travel all over the US, meeting students in all corners of the country, but am SO looking forward to getting back into the routine of home.

To recap the last few weeks of my travel schedule…I took off for Houston on Halloween day and spent the weekend interviewing prospective students. I didn’t see much of Houston other than the inside of an interview suite at the JW Marriott, but I did fall in love with a place called Central Market. It’s an AMAZING store resembling a mix between Whole Foods, Metropolitan Market and Costco- basically it’s utter perfection!

The weekend after Houston I jetted off to the freezing cold Midwest to experience my first snow of the season and interview prospective students from the Chicago area. I also took advantage of my work trip to fit in some quality family time with Jamie and David in Chicago and my Herlache family up in Wisconsin. On Friday I met up with Jamie at my hotel and then we met David and his friend at Headquarters Beercade for some drinks and catching up. I hadn’t seen David in more than 8 years so it was really nice to reconnect.

Saturday and Sunday brought LONG days of interviews, but also delicious food. Jamie treated me to her favorite Chinese takeout on Saturday and we spent the evening gorging on dumplings and cold noodles while enjoying Tangled and Ratatouille from the comfort of her living room. I also got intimate with her sweet pup, Hermione, who was relentless in her pursuit of cuddles. Sunday she treated again with the most delicious homemade posole, and tacos. My mouth is watering thinking about that meal now…I contributed to the spread with some treats from Eataly (the most awesome Italian market right across the street from my hotel). We were in culinary heaven.  Post meal we enjoyed the Bears crushing defeat at the hands of the Packers. Nothing like watching your favorite team tromp your least favorite team in the bad guys own city.

Monday morning we hit the road and made our way to Wisconsin where my Grandma had homemade mac ‘n cheese and cornbread waiting:) We had lunch with my grandparents and uncle John and the rest of the family came by for pizza and conversation that evening. It was great to catch up and indulge in some of my grandma’s famous cooking as well as those tasty Wisconsin beers you can only get in-state. The next morning Jamie left early to get back for some meetings and I spent the day hanging out with my grandparents looking at old slides of their years in Europe and picking up some Packer gear. I had to head back to the airport and LA that afternoon. It was much too short a trip, but I’m so glad I got those 2 days to see family and recharge my batteries a little bit after 46 consecutive days of work (yes I counted!).

Traveling to Chicago was a great opportunity to fit in some family time and my trip to Portland was a great opportunity to spend some much needed quality time with one of my oldest friends, Jessie. She picked me up at the airport Friday evening and we got to catch up over dinner and drinks at some of her favorite spots around Portland. I met some of her fantastic friends and we said goodbye with plans to meet up again on Sunday evening for dinner.

I started all three of my days in Portland with Blue Star Donuts and Stumptown Coffee. I was seriously obsessed with the donuts at Blue Star. I was in Portland for 3 days and I ended up trying 7 kinds of donuts! They were all amazing, but the Blackberry Compote with Peanut Butter Dusting was melt in your mouth delicious and I’ve never had a better Maple Bacon. I was (am) so into Blue Star I even started following them on Instagram. Which I don’t recommend unless you’re a sucker for pain– looking at those donuts everyday and knowing I can’t put them in my mouth is incredibly painful.

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Besides amazing donuts Portland has a massive foodie scene. All weekend I ate so well (and so much!).  Saturday was filled with interviews, but I finally made it to the famous food carts for lunch, opting for a grilled cheese from Grilled Cheese Grill. After work concluded for the day I was able to spend a few of my evening hours at the famous Powells before returning to Tasty N Alder for a delicious dinner of cheese, scallops and local beer.

Sunday brought more interviews and more delicious food. Blue Star obviously kicked off my morning. Some colleagues and I had pork sandwiches at Lardo for lunch and then Jessie and Katy took me to another of their local spots, Old Salt Marketplace, for dinner. It was an indulgent weekend to say the least. Portland is the only place I got to visit twice on my travels this fall and it was the perfect repeat offender. It’s a beautiful, walkable town with a funky vibe and incredible food. Hopefully I can figure out a way to get in on my spring travel schedule as well;)

After all the travel I was so thankful to have some time at home. Unfortunately my first weekend in CA since September was also the weekend Dave planned a trip up to the Bay to hang out with Nick and Nathan (who was in town for a conference). Dave had a great time reminiscing about college and exploring more of SF with his friends. I’m pretty sure they did a lot of beer drinking and then on Saturday he and Nate drove into Marin to hike, hit the beach and eat oysters. It was a quick trip, but he had a great time hanging out with his old friends.

While Dave was up in the Bay I had plenty to keep me busy. Friday night I met up with Kristie in Culver City for dinner and drinks. We had so much fun chatting and was happy that we were able to fit in some time during her super quick trip to LA. Saturday I had breakfast with my family and then dropped Maddie and some friends off at the Rose Bowl for pre-game festivities before the the USC v. UCLA game. That night my ladies came over for girl time and nachos. It’s always a challenge coordinating a time everyone can make it, but I love when we make it happen. Katie, Kathleen, Kathy, Rob- we must do it again soon!!

Sunday brought the big open house on campus and also the start to a wonderfully short work week leading into my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!! On Tuesday after work I drove down to Dana Point to meet my family at the beach house we’d rented right on the beautiful California coast. And I mean right on. We spent every day lounging in the backyard overlooking the Pacific and every night falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves. We had all the traditional favorites for the big holiday and some family came down Friday to hang out at our swanky abode. It was relaxing, rejuvenating and fun. The weather was perfect and I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend the long weekend.

This past weekend wrapped up the final segment of fall travel. I was up in Oakland to interview students from the Bay. It was the busiest weekend of the year, but also fun because a whole crew of USC staff were up to manage the volume. We met a lot of great students and indulged at some of the great local restaurants. Friday we splurged on small plates at The Grand Tavern and Saturday we had a tasty meal at the deceptively swanky Honor Kitchen. And it’s my last work trip till April! When I got back spent the evening decorating our tree and really getting into the festive holiday spirit. We’ll be spending Christmas with my family and then flying cross country to Maine to ring in the new year. Par the course it’s going to be a busy but fun-filled month! Merry Christmas everyone!!

Travel Mania


Fall is my favorite season. I’ve always loved the changing of leaves, the cool crisp air, buying school supplies and the start of the holiday season. This year I’m getting to experience Fall in almost every corner of the US as a major part of my job is to travel around the country talking to prospective and admitted students about how great USC Marshall is! I love interacting with students and their families so it makes the travel a lot of fun, but can also be incredibly exhausting. Who knew traveling for work isn’t as glamorous as it looks?! Luckily, I’ve been able to visit some pretty amazing cities, many of them with some pretty amazing people I’ve been able to catch up with!

Bay Area/Sacramento: My first stop back in September was San Francisco and Sacramento. My hotel was right across the bay from SFO and I had a fantastic view of planes taking off and landing. I got to meet up with Duven for dinner one night and see her boyfriend, Michael’s band perform at Pier 70 in the city. In Sacramento I ventured out to visit one of Maddie’s favorite restaurants in Davis and hit up the Vacaville Outlets.

Hawaii: The next weekend I headed out across the Pacific to the beautiful island of Oahu. The flight is long, but the 3-hour time difference worked to my advantage. I was able to enjoy lunch and a relaxing afternoon on Kailua Beach before a sucking back a complimentary Mai Tai at my hotel that evening. The students and families I met with on Saturday were so relaxed and welcoming and spent more time trying to figure out activities for me to do that evening than asking me questions about USC. Seriously, the nicest people! Sunday morning I got up before the crack of dawn to hike Diamond Head and have one last swim on Waikiki before I had to head to the airport and back to LA. 48 hours in Hawaii was definitely not long enough and I can’t wait to head back soon, but this time with Dave!


Portland/Seattle: Week three of travel brought my favorite trip thus far- a return to our old stomping grounds in the Pacific Northwest with Dave in tow! This weekend also brought our 1st wedding anniversary on October 12th. Even though I had to work for a portion of the time we managed to have a wonderful weekend getaway in one of our favorite spots. We flew into Portland on Friday and had a “tasty” dinner at Tasty N Alder followed by some amazingly delicious (and cheap!) beers at Bailey’s Taproom. The next day we continued our food tour of the “other Portland” with some Stumptown Coffee and VooDoo Donuts. A colorful way to kick off the day. Powell’s Books was next on the list and we managed to get some good browsing in before I had to head back to the hotel and get professional. While I was convincing the locals to spend their college years in sunny So Cal Dave took in some college football at a local bar and completed a hike up up to Pittock Mansion.  Following my Portland program we hopped in the car and hightailed it north to the Evergreen State. With one quick detour to MSM we were in Seattle and ready to meet up with some of our favorite college buddies. We met Lea, Brian and Charisse at The Pine Box and had a great time catching up over beers.

We had a relaxing Sunday morning reviewing the wonderful details of October 12, 2013. Our hotel room looked out over the Puget Sound and we took in the view as we watched the Packers and Patriots dominate on the field. We could also see CenturyLink from our balcony and Dave was enthusiastically rooting against the Seahawks (who ended up losing and adding to the happiness of Dave’s day). I had my Seattle program that took up a few hours of the day, but right after that concluded we met up for a nice stroll through Pike’s Place market and a few beers at Elysium Brewing Co before dinner. Dave picked out the location of our anniversary dinner at Cafe Champagne and we had amazing French food and wine and a long discussion about what Frasier would have ordered had he been patronizing the restaurant. Probably the cassoulet with a robust Zinfandel.

That evening we spent the night at an awesome place in Burien we found on AirBnB. The house was right on the water. We got the fire pit started, cracked open another bottle of French wine and listened to the waves of the Puget Sound lap against the shore. The next morning we kayaked around the Sound before heading down to Tacoma for a memory-filled day of visiting our alma mater and checking out our favorite local eats. We picked up Met Mart food for lunch and had a picnic on Owen’s Beach. And the mountain was out!!  After lunch we drove up into Point Defiance and did some hiking along the trails. Next stop was campus where we checked out all the new buildings and bought some gear at the bookstore. From there we picked up dinner (MSM sandwiches…what else) and finished the day with a few last beers and some Big Buck Hunter at the Parkway Tavern. Even with the work a great weekend of celebrating one year of marriage in the place it all began.

East Coast: We arrived in LA late Monday night and I was back at LAX bright and early Wednesday morning. This time headed east for my final four programs and my longest trip of semester. I flew into DC first. I had some work to catch up on and a few things I had to call into the office for, but was also able to spend a couple hours wandering around one of my favorite museum’s The Portrait Gallery and strolling through our old neighborhood, Cleveland Park. I made the time to savor some buffalo wing’s at the Cleveland Park Bar and Grill and was pleasantly surprised by a yummy local brew I hadn’t tried called DC Brau.

Boston was next on the list and it was the perfect weekend to be back in our old hometown. The weather was perfect and the city filled with people in town to watch the BC v. Clemson game and the Head of the Charles. I spent one morning with my coffee and crossword in Washington Square soaking up the sun and was also able to dine at an old favorite, The Publick House. Saturday evening after the USC program I met up with Dan and Alix for dinner and drinks and we had a wonderful evening that concluded with a Facetime session featuring Dave. It was so nice to be back in New England again and made me incredibly nostalgic for the “glory days” a few years back.

My night out in Boston was fun, but made for a tough morning when I had to be on a plane to NYC by 7:00am. Unfortunately, my hotel was fully booked the night before meaning no opportunity for early check in. I tried to get some work in while nodding off in the hotel lobby and had to try and make myself look presentable in the public restroom. I think I succeeded because the NY program was huge and very successful. I was one of the last representatives left answering questions and talking to families. I was also WIPED OUT. Even though I was in the city that never sleeps that is all I could think about. I hightailed it to my hotel, where I mustered the energy to order some takeout Thai and watch Monsters Inc on TV.

Monday brought my 10th and final fall reception in Philadelphia. I took the train from Penn Station (trains= WAY better than planes) and was able to make it in time to meet my friend Justin for lunch. I hadn’t seen Justin since I left Northeastern more than 3 years ago and it was great to catch up and hear all about his life in medical school. I have such accomplished friends! After lunch I took a stroll around the city with the goal of finding and climbing the “Rocky Steps”. I found them and a number of other Philly tourist sites. It was a beautiful day to walk around (I really lucked out with weather on this trip) and I was glad to do so, because even though I’d driven through it many times before I’d never taken the time to do stop in Philadelphia. The program went well Monday night and on Tuesday before heading back to LA I took the time to tour Independence Hall and see the Liberty Bell. I love American history, especially the period including the Revolutionary War and the founding of our country and had a great time listening to the Park Rangers talk about Philadelphia’s role during that time. It was a LONG, but great trip!

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Denver: Last weekend I made my way to Denver for the first off-campus interviews of the year. I spent all day Saturday interviewing prospective students, but also managed some fun by getting to hanging out with my wonderful, Emily Friday and Saturday night. We had hours of quality girl talk and finished off a couple bottles of vino over the course of the weekend. We also got to catch up with Meredith and relive some of our Cabo adventures on Saturday night at a Mexican restaurant. Emily was also incredibly generous- picking me up from and driving me back to the airport. I only wished we lived closer so our girl weekends wouldn’t be so few and far between!

It’s been a jam-packed month and there’s more to come. Up next…Houston, Chicago, Portland Oregon and back to the Bay…Thank God for Thanksgiving break!!

New England Vacay

At the end of September we spent a whirlwind week back east to attend the Hackett/Roy wedding affair, visit with friends in Boston and spend some quality time with family up in Maine. It went by WAY too fast, but we had a fantastic time catching up with everyone and getting to experience a little sliver of autumn in New England.

We took a red-eye on Wednesday night so that we could maximize time our one day in Boston. We landed and headed straight to Becky’s apartment in Cambridge to drop our bags- stopping for the obligatory Dunks along the way of course! Dave took a little nap while I headed back into the city to meet up with Anthony and Mike (a couple of my favorite former Husky Ambassadors) for an early lunch. It was so much fun to catch up and hear what they’d been up to the past year or so. We also did a good bit of reminiscing about the good old days in the VC and took a little stroll through the Public Garden.

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After we parted ways Dave and I spent a little time soaking up the Boston weather- which was perfect compared to the hellish So Cal weather of 104° we’d experienced the day prior. From there we hopped a bus to JP to see Mary and attempt to watch the returns come in from the Scottish vote for independence. We threw back a few beers with Mary, but unfortunately we were a little early for the returns. By the time we left the bar was filling up and Dave even got interviewed by a public access reporter! Who knows if his commentary made the cut, but it was fun to be involved!


That night we met up with Becky and Zack at their apartment for a few beers and catching up before making our way to Aeronaut Brewing Co. in Cambridge. We had a great night indulging in tasty beers and food truck tacos. Noah also stopped by to hang out- diversifying the friends we were able to connect with throughout the day even further! Such a fun way to kick off our vacation.



Friday we slept in and then caught an early afternoon train up to Newburyport, MA. Where we had a quick chance to greet the groom before checking in to our hotel and getting spruced up for the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal was at a cool, very New England pub and the food and drink were both delicious! We had a super fun table filled with Glenwood Crew members and spent a few hours after the dinner party up in the hotel catching up with even more friends.

Saturday brought wedding day and some day-of “honorary wedding party” activities for Dave and some shopping for me…I needed to buy a coat, California has already turned me back into a giant wimp with weather! I had a good time shopping and getting ready with Amy and Jenn before my duties as wedding shuttle dictator commenced. It was actually incredibly easy to get everyone on the shuttle and over to the venue and we made it just in time for the simple, but thoughtful ceremony to begin.

The party following the ceremony was fantastic, with lawn games, a lobster dinner and free flowing beer, wine and specially crafted cocktails. We had premium seats at the head table with beautiful views of the harbor and great company. It was a wonderful wedding and we were so happy to be a part of it! #dalix

From MA we headed up north to Maine and were able to spend the next three days with Dave’s family. We celebrated Bo’s birthday with a retro themed party, got to take a spin on the boat in Casco Bay, meet Jack’s lovely new girlfriend Kate and of course enjoy many a delicious meal. It was the only time we also had to get in a little relaxation.


Our trip went way too fast and we were back in CA and back at work before we knew it. Coming back also meant the start of my crazy fall travel schedule. I’ve been traveling to different cities around the US every weekend since we returned and will be doing so until early December (with the exception of an on-campus open house and Thanksgiving, of course!). It’s been a lot of fun, but exhausting…hence the delay in timely blog posts!

Until next time…Daverian


Palm Springs Weekend

It’s been a hectic summer for the Herlache/Chebuske clan with travel, new jobs, moving, a surgery and the usual festivities. Trying to coordinate five different schedules took a bit of time and it wasn’t until the second weekend in August that we were finally able to come together to celebrate my belated 29th birthday!

I love presents (who doesn’t?!), but even more than presents I love traveling to new locales. Though I’ve driven through it a few times in past two decades, the only time I’ve ever spent in Palm Springs was a weekend in early elementary school. My girl scout troop was rewarded with an overnight trip to Palm Springs for our cookie selling efforts. I recall the trip being a success, but beyond the pool and the swanky jungle gym gear at a nearby park, my memories of the desert town are pretty hazy. Luckily my dad is a huge fan of California’s Gold host, Huell Howser, and when we saw a rerun of a trip he took to San Jacinto earlier this summer the idea blossomed of making a return trip to the popular vacation destination.

We met my family at the foot of the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway early on Saturday morning. We travelled from 2,643 feet up to Mountain Station, which sits at an elevation 8,516 feet. From there we trekked across San Jacinto State Park completing an almost 9 mile hike before making our way back to the station for lunch at Peaks Restaurant.

The trail was challenging at times, but with plenty of flat stretches along the way. An awesome feature of San Jacinto State Park is the fact that the weather atop the mountain is generally close to 30° cooler than the weather at the base of the mountain. With the average temperature in Palm Springs that weekend coming in a 102° the mountain-top weather was absolute perfection!

After our hike, lunch (and getting in plenty of family photos) we made our way back down the mountain and a little further south to the city of La Quinta. We found a great 2 bedroom condo available on AirBnB at a complex with 9 different pools and a hammock garden. We got in a quick swim and were actually able to catch some of the Dodger game (Dodger fans without Time Warner know our pain)  before heading out to dinner.

We had an amazing meal at Cork and Fork for dinner. Cork and Fork’s food philosophy is “Mix and Match. Share and Enjoy”. We shared a variety of small plates ranging from grilled cheese with braised short ribs to seared scallops to blistered shishito peppers. Cork and Fork has a great wine list and some local rotating drafts. Plus they offer happy hour prices on select starters and their beer, white and red wines of the night. I have the hardest time picking between menu items and always want to try what everyone else has ordered- the small sharable plates proved to be the perfect dining approach. Too bad there aren’t more restaurants like Cork and Fork out there!

After dinner we indulged in homemade ice cream at Infusions. Every scoop is handmade in KitchenAid mixers with liquid nitrogen. Steam spills out over the counter as employees mix up orders. Between the five of us we split strawberry cheesecake, mint chip and the most delicious- chocolate espresso with fresh ground espresso beans on top. To top all the ice cream off I was also presented with my favorite cake- our family’s classic carrot cake. It was a decadent, food-filled evening that we absolutely deserved after our active day!

The next morning brought hours of a rotation between the pool and the air-conditioned condo. Because it’s so hot in Palm Springs summer is actually the off-season! Because of this we had the pools mostly to ourselves. The mountain backdrops weren’t too shabby either. It was a wonderful way to spend the early part of the day.

Post relaxation time we all headed back west, relived to leave the 109° temperature for something a little more bearable– whoohoo 90s! On the way home Dave and I made one last pit stop for dinner at the original In-N-Out burger in Baldwin Park. In-N-Out University was closed and we weren’t able to buy a t-shirt, but we indulged in some always delicious burgers and fries. The perfect California ending to a California-filled weekend!


New Digs

We’re official residents of Los Angeles! We have been set up in our new home for about two weeks now and absolutely love the space. We’ve moved around so often the past 7 years or so that our stuff is scattered to the ends of the earth….well most scattered throughout the basement, garage and attic of the Chebuske’s house, but still- most of our furniture is 3000 miles away. Luckily the place came furnished with a few key pieces (i.e. couch and dresser) and we were able to borrow a few other pieces from my parents. We’ve slowly started to pick up other items along the way, but it’s definitely a work in progress.

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The weekend of July 19th we drove down to Yorba Linda (about a hour from LA) to celebrate the nuptials of our great friends, Alexis and Peter. They were married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at the Nixon Library followed by a sweet and incredibly fun ballroom reception. They had amazing food (surf and turf!), plus a fully stocked open bar. You can tell though the evolution of my photo booth pictures that I overindulged a bit in the free flowing wine.

Let’s just say that it’s a good thing we had a nearby hotel room and sitting through the Angels v. Mariners game the next day was not my most pleasant baseball viewing experience. We met our friend Sachi for the game and unfortunately I was not the best seatmate. She and Dave had a great time though and the Angels came back in the bottom of the 9th to pull out a W. We’re planning to take her out to a Dodger game in the near future so she can get a National League experience and I can be a livelier viewing partner. In spite of the white-wine overload we had a wonderful weekend getting to see Sachi and were thrilled to be a part of the Colantoni’s big day! Congrats again to the gorgeous bride and handsome groom!!

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The week following the wedding was a short work week for me as I got my four stubborn wisdom teeth pulled this past Wednesday. The surgery went well and there’s has been a surprising little amount of pain, but the antibiotics and anti-pain medication has wiped me out! If I’m not sleeping the only energy I have has been invested in long hours of television watching and some internet surfing. It definitely could be worse, but by Friday I was looking forward to some mental clarity, the ability to stay awake for more than 5 hours at a time and the option to fully open my mouth again. Even though I’m still not in tip-top shape I didn’t have long to wallow in my drugged stupor as we had some plans for the weekend. Yesterday morning we drove down to Long Beach to check out the World Series of Beach Volleyball. Sachi works for Mikasa and hooked us up with awesome VIP passes for the tournament semi-finals. We watched the best in the world battle it out from a shaded platform with complimentary food and drink. The US women took down the Netherlands and then later in the afternoon defeated the Slovakians to make it to the Gold Medal match. The US men had an unfortunate loss to Poland and we missed the later US Men’s team play as we had to head north to meet my parents and Maddie for an outdoor concert at the Santa Anita Race Track. We watched the Cal Philharmonic play “magical” melodies from Disney favorites like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Fantasia. We had a fun night with a picnic dinner and then music under the stars. It was the perfect end to a summer day.

We only have a few days left of July and then we’re on to August! We still have some work to go to get our new home fully functioning and I’m sure we’ll spend some quality time with family and friends. I have my fall travel schedule outlined and it looks like I’m going to be spending most weekends in October, November and early December out of town so I have to capitalize on the weekends I’m around. Hopefully a few more concerts and some beach days are in our future…maybe even a camping trip or two- there’s so much of the west left to explore!!

Until next time…Daverian

Joyful June

Again it’s another month and we haven’t had a minute to breath and gather our thoughts for a post. It’s been an exciting few weeks since our last update. We took a weekend trip to San Francisco, Adrian celebrated her 29th birthday, we began the process of apartment hunting in LA, Dave got a short-term position at a really cool company in Marina del Rey AND we finally began the process of apartment hunting and signed a lease on our new home last week! So lots to report on:)

Adrian’s birthday was on a Monday and she had a professional development conference beginning that day so we flew up to Oakland early the Saturday before and spent that night with our friend Nick. He took us to an El Salvadorian place for lunch and then we took the BART to the Embarcadero where we walked around a bit before hitting up a bar and drinking a few brews before the Giants game. We had great seats in the upper right field corner that offered views of the city skyline as well as McCovey Cove. The Giants came back in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Mets making it an exciting game.

The next day we got up and took Nick’s dog Willy for a little hike before picking up some picnic supplies and making our way to the harbor for a 12:30 boat trip over to Alcatraz. We lucked out with the weather and it was a beautifully sunny, clear, warm day in the Bay. The boat ride over to Alcatraz Island is only about 10 minutes, but provides nice views of the bay. Once you arrive and disembark you’re herded up to the main prison block, where you pick up the audio tour and begin to explore the island. The audio guide is voiced by former prisoners and guards and eerie noises like the clanking of keys and muddled voices can be heard in the background. The tour takes about 2 hours to complete and then visitors have the option of staying on the island for additional touring or to eat lunch. The seagulls are particularly aggressive and we noticed that many were nesting- which probably didn’t help the aggressive behavior. We caught the boat back to the city and downed some beers and hung out in a nearby park until it was time to meet Duven and Michael for dinner at Pier 23. It was great to catch up with them and the seafood was delicious. That night we stayed at Le Meridian downtown- which we got a great deal on through Hot Wire. It’s the second time we’ve booked through the site and both experiences have been great…we definitely recommend it for any last minute hotel needs.

Monday morning brought Adrian’s birthday and three days of admissions professionals workshops and events. She learned a lot at the conference and enjoyed getting to see some old colleagues from Northeastern. When she got back on Wednesday we celebrated her birthday with dinner in Old Town and Godiva chocolate cheesecake for dessert.

Just a few days after her return we celebrated father’s day weekend with breakfast at the Santa Anita Racetrack, a Dodger game and a Sunday BBQ. Then just a few days after that Adrian’s parents took off for Wisconsin and 10 days of family fun. While they were gone we enjoyed having the house to ourselves and spent most of our free time lounging in the backyard and watching the World Cup. If you haven’t guessed we’re pulling big time for Deutschland with Old Glory out of the picture. Being in Berlin this weekend would be INSANE!!  So jealous of all our friends still in Germany. I also hosted another Bachelorette night and we enjoyed a rousing game night with Alexis and Peter, complete with donuts, ice cream, beer and pizza.

We also began that stressful process of apartment hunting in Los Angeles. The way the market works in this city is that you see a place on craigslist or padmapper, contact the location manager immediately, visit the place in the evening, apply that night and sign the official lease the next day. It’s fast and it’s stressful and for people like us (who don’t know the lay of the land all that well) it’s impossible to know if you’ve found a place you’re going to love or loathe. Also for people like us it was impossible to find a place that aligned with our “wants” lists because we were looking for a place easily found in a city like Berlin or Boston, not fully understanding that LA is a completely different type of city. So we talked about what it is that we love about Southern California and the big standout was the most obviously positive for anyone who has ever spent a winter out east- the weather. We needed to find a home that afforded us the opportunity to capitalize on the weather. And luckily we found just that. The process was the same. Last Monday I saw the place online. The owner responded to my message mid-afternoon. We stopped by to see the place after work and lo and behold the next evening the papers were signed and the keys in our hands! We started moving some of our gear this past weekend and will be hauling over the big stuff this upcoming Saturday. We’re so grateful to my family for letting us stay with them these past 7 months or so and will miss the proximity to Sierra Madre’s charming downtown, but are so excited to be back in our own place and to get to know our new neighborhood, Mount Washington in Northeast L.A.

Our place is the lower unit

New Mt. Washington Home

View from our new home

And though we began (and titled) this post back at the end of June it’s already the second week of July and has yet to be published. So I’ll include a couple quick updates about the 4th. We had a great, long weekend that was kicked off by drinks in the Sierra Madre Biergarten Thursday night, followed by the lovely Sierra Madre 4th of July parade Friday morning. That afternoon we cooked up a BBQ feast and then all fell into food comas and took long afternoon naps. We thought about venturing out to see fireworks, but instead opted for seconds and some hammock lounging in the backyard…where we had a brush with some wildlife when we caught a raccoon peering down at us from a tree! I swear it peed on me, but Dave claims it just shook water off the high branches/leaves. We moved the hammock and I grabbed a bat in case it was rabid and attacked, but it just mosied around the tree before climbing down and out of the yard about 20 minutes later. The next day we participated in some domestic adventures making our way to Costco and Walmart for new home supplies and then attended a “Kitten Warming Party” at Kathleen and Brian’s home that night. We met their sweet kitty Moze and had a great time hanging out. Sunday we hung out, read and relaxed all day. We agreed every weekend should be a three day event. One day for social activities, one day for productive ones and one day to recoup and refresh. Let’s try to catch it on, okay?!

Up next we have the official move into our new place, Alexis and Peter’s July 19th wedding and then I’m finally getting my wisdom teeth removed. Should be a mix of good times and swollen times. Hopefully all is well with our friends all over the globe. We miss you all immensely and hope fabulous summers are being had all around!

xoxo- Daverian

Trips and Training

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”

I saw this quote by Lin Yutang somewhere not long ago during a particularly melancholy state of longing for our Berlin life and got to thinking about where we were last year at this time and where we are now. One year ago we were working and living in Berlin- planning our Spring trips to Paris and Greece and eagerly awaiting the open airs and biergartens that were just around the corner. This year life is a little different, but the urge and desire to continue our exploration of this big, beautiful world is not. We may not be traversing the sophisticated capitals of Europe, but we love the opportunities we’ve had to explore the west and the ridiculously vast city of Los Angeles. It’s been an especially exciting couple of weeks for this travel loving pair.

The last week of February I left for a Mexican girl-getaway with my lovely friend Emily and three of her Denver buds and my new friends, Sarah, Katrina and Meredith. Emily’s grandma generously offered up her timeshare in Cabo and we had a wonderful week lounging by the pool and the ocean, dining on Mexican food and enjoying lots and lots of girl talk. We traversed into town to dine at some of Emily’s favorite restaurants, Mamas and Ponchos and we also indulged in a sunset boat cruise through the Sea of Cortez and out to the Pacific side of the peninsula.  It was relaxing and refreshing and so good to catch up with one of my favorite friends!

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While I was sunning on a Mexican beach Dave was heading north to Tahoe for a weekend of skiing with his parents and Jack. They weren’t blessed with the best weather, but were still able to get some good runs in. I know Dave misses being able to ski as often as he used to so I’m always happy when he gets the chance to make it out to the mountains. They had three nights in Tahoe before heading back to Southern California. Unfortunately there were some issues with their plane and they ended up having to rent a car and drive down, but they made it one piece and just in time for Dave’s 29th birthday on March 5.


It was a low-key birthday compared to what we’ve done in years past and we spent most of the day showing Al and Melissa around Huntington Gardens. The Gardens have become one of our favorite Pasadena spots and with our membership we’re often able to take advantage of the visiting hours. After a long morning/afternoon of checking out the grounds we headed back to my parent’s house for a snack and to bid Al and Melissa good bye before they hit the road and made their way to a conference in the Palm Springs area. Dave and I had a relaxing afternoon before heading into Pasadena for a birthday dinner and then a few more drinks at a local Sierra Madre bar.


The very next day we were up early to pack and start the trek out to Arizona with my parents and Maddie. We’ve been talking about it for years and finally put our words into action when we planned a 3 night trip out to the Phoenix/Tempe area for Spring Training. The drive from LA is only between 5-6 hours and our family friend Gina generously agreed to put us all up while we were there.

Friday we caught a game at the Dodger’s Camelback Ranch. They beat the Rangers 2-1 and we were able to see Hanley Ramirez rip a homer. It is a really beautiful complex shared by the Dodgers and the White Sox with a number of practice fields, batting cages and other facilities for players and fans to take advantage of. We had great seats just 5 rows up from the field and halfway down the first base line.

Right after the game we drove over to the University of Phoenix football stadium for a guided tour. We got to see the stadium for a variety of seats including the press area and a private box. We went into the visitor’s locker room and were able to get a view of the grass that they mechanically maneuver before each game. The stadium will be host to the 2015 Super Bowl, so it was pretty cool to check it out while we were in the area.

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Saturday we took in another game at the Angels’ spring training stadium in Tempe. The Angels lost to the Diamondbacks, but we still had a great time checking out a new stadium and seeing some more great players and prospects. That night we drove up to Scottsdale to walk around the city and had dinner at a sushi restaurant off the main drag. Scottsdale was beautifully lit up with Christmas lights down every main street and there were tons of people out enjoying the evening.

Sunday brought our last day in Arizona. Dave and I decided to take advantage of our work-less states and stay a few more hours to catch one last game before driving back to LA. We thought about trying to see the Cubs play the Brewers at the Cub’s new stadium, but the game was sold out so we settled on Seattle v. Texas at the Mariner’s complex up in Peoria. We were incredibly glad we did. The lawn seats were cheap at $8 each and we had a great spot out in the right field grass. Seattle’s food and beverage options were by far the best of the three parks we visited. We were able to purchase 24oz. Red Hook beers for just $7.50 and the variety of food options available were far superior to both the Dodgers and Angels parks- they even had a “kooky coffee” stand…oh Seattle. The Mariner’s pulled off an 8th inning comeback scoring 5 runs to win 9-8. It was an exciting end to the game and the weekend.

After the game we loaded into the car and drove nonstop back to Sierra Madre, listening to a thousand Moth podcasts along the way. A good old road trip was the perfect way to wrap up a couple of fun, adventure filled weeks. In the coming months we’re looking forward to continuing our travels close to home and are hoping to include Austin, San Francisco and the Northwest in our upcoming itineraries. We’ll see what happens, but I have a feeling it won’t be long before the open road calls to us again:)

Death Valley and Red Rock Canyon

This past weekend Dave and I packed up my mom’s Honda Accord and hit the road. We made the five hour trek up to Death Valley to check out a new national park, spend some time together and relax in the great outdoors.  We reserved a spot at Furnace Creek campground for Sunday and Monday night and decided to wait on our Tuesday night destination depending on whether we needed more time to see Death Valley or we were ready to move on.

Our first night in the park we just set up our tent, lit up a fire and spent the evening relaxing under the stars. Monday morning we were up early and ready to hit up the major “must see” destinations of Death Valley. We started by driving down Badwater Road to the lowest point in the US (and one of the lowest on earth at -282 feet below sea level) Badwater Basin. We lucked out and were the only people at the site when we arrived- making for some great shots of the scenery. Visitors are able to walk as far as they’d like across the Basin, but the trail only extends about a 1/2 mile out so the going gets tricky pretty quickly. We hiked out about a mile or so, but opted not to continue the 5 miles across the valley. Making the Basin even more beautiful is the fact that it’s framed by Telescope Peak, which sits at an elevation of more than 11,000 feet!

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From Badwater Basin we made our way back up Badwater Rd. stopping at each of the scenic hikes, outlooks and drives along the way. We did a short hike at the Natural Bridge and marveled at the dry waterfalls. Next we stopped off at the Devils Golf Course to view some of the crazy formations created by the salt and wind in Badwater Basin. Walking across the course is allowed, but extremely difficult due to the shape of the formations. Warning signs caution of broken bones and major injuries to those who attempt the hike. Needless to say, we didn’t go too far.

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Next up on our list of sights was the Artist’s Drive. It’s a three mile drive through beautifully colored rocks and canyons. Colors range from brown and green to red and purple to pinks and blues. And they change depending on the cloud cover and how the sun hits them. The one-way drive was also a lot of fun because of the thin, winding road and the fact that’s it’s off the major road. We parked along the drive at the Artist’s Palette and hiked around the hills for awhile. It was mid-day so I don’t think the colors were as vivid as they’d be at dusk or dawn, but it was still incredibly beautiful.

IMG_1992From the Artist’s Drive we made our way to the last stop of the morning, Golden Canyon. The canyon leads to the “Red Cathedral”, a formidable rock colored red and kind of resembling a cathedral. Pretty self explanatory….Before the hike we scarfed some lunch and then had a nice stroll down the “interactive” trail. At the end of the trail you can continue on to other points or take the extended loop trail back down and around, but we just scrambled along the rocks for a bit before heading back to camp.

IMG_2028 IMG_2040At camp we cracked open some beers and took a much deserved break before jumping back in the car and heading to the Mesquite Sand Dunes for sunset. Death Valley is so beautiful and so diverse. I’ve never been a big fan of the desert (I’m partial to water and trees), but I have such a new appreciation for the beauty of deserts and dry places. It’s amazing what time and nature can create. We spent all morning hiking along dusty rocks worn down by ancient waters and through salt beds that still sustain life (the Death Valley pupfish) and then spent the evening hiking over a completely different kind of desert creation, sand dunes. We sat on the dunes and watched the sun dip behind the distant mountains, keeping our eyes peeled for the first star. We saw one and then minutes later there were hundreds. Death Valley is officially known as an international Dark Sky Park because of how little light pollution affects the area. On a clear night the intensity of the stars is awe inspiring. It was an amazing sight to see.





IMG_0247We were up early the next morning to catch the sunrise. One of the park rangers told us that the best place to see it was Zabriskie Point so that’s where we headed. It was chilly and early, but the sunrise was definitely worth it!

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From Zabriskie Point we checked out the historic 20 Mule Trail and then headed back to camp for some breakfast and to pack up. The next stop was north, just past the sand dunes at Mosaic Canyon. The hike begins with a narrow trail that opens up to a big canyon. We spent a couple hours hiking around and taking in even more incredible views and rock formations. I even got Dave to pretend our water bottle was Simba on one of them. I have the picture to prove it:)


IMG_2115After our hike and some lunch we drove west to our last stop in Death Valley, Father Crowley Vista Point. We got a great view of the western side of the park and even got to see two low flying jets fly out on a practice run over the canyon.

IMG_2135As we drove away from Death Valley we were reading over the literature we’d gotten from the park. We knew that Death Valley’s name came from the Manly Party who back in the 1880s were lost in the area and thought they were going to die. When they eventually found their way out legend has it that one of the men turned back and said, “Good Bye Death Valley”. After hiking over the mountains they came upon fresh water at Indian Wells and today a brewery has been erected on the site. Indian Wells Brewing Company still uses the same spring water in their beers and sodas today. We love our beer and it was really refreshing to throw back a few cold ones after all the hiking and driving of the day.


We decided that our last night camping we’d stop at a different site and had read some great things about Red Rock Canyon State Park about halfway between Death Valley and LA. The park was almost deserted and we had our pick of spots. We set everything up and then drove a little ways down the road for some dinner. That night we had one last campfire and some final stargazing before turning in for the night.


We spent our last day on the road hiking around the campgrounds and at another canyon just down the road. A lot of old westerns and in addition to some more modern films were shot at Red Rocks including scenes from Jurassic Park. We had the trails all to ourselves and fun checking out a place so close to LA that’d we’d never taken the time to visit.


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IMG_0346We had a great time getting away from everything for a few days and seeing a new place. It sounds corny, but stepping away from technology and taking the time to be quiet with nature is so refreshing. I’m lucky I have a partner who thinks so too.

Welcome 2014

Happy New Year! To start the new year we’ll write a quick wrap up of the past year. 2013 was hands down the best year. We started the year off in Berlin with the promise of lots of travel, lots of wedding activity and lots of fun. 2013 delivered on all accounts.

We were incredibly grateful to have been able to visit 13 different countries, with Greece being the major highlight. We also had the opportunity to travel throughout Germany, visiting a number of cities in Bavaria and finally making it down the Romantic Road. In the US we were able to spend a lot of time on both coasts- staying with Dave’s family in Maine for a few weeks in September and then again in December and my family in California in between. Definitely the most extended family time we’ve been able to enjoy in many a year.

We spent a good deal of the year immersed in plans for our October wedding. Planning a wedding is a HUGE undertaking and wouldn’t have been possible without the help of so many of our family and friends, but everything came together perfectly for the big day. October 12, 2013 was absolutely the highlight of the year and without question one of the highlights of our lives. We both really took the time to savor the day and couldn’t be happier about how everything turned out. And now we’re married!!

All in all 2013 was quintessentially a year of fun.  Every year right after January 1st we make a date and share our “top lists” of the year. We have a bunch of different categories: top songs, top trips, top books etc…and then top overall moments/memories. January 2nd we dined at an awesome new-ish restaurant in Portland called Outliers. Bo and Kristie gave us a gift card for Christmas and it was the perfect spot for our first date of 2014. We had delicious pork jowel to start, short ribs and lobster pasta for our mains and a yummy of Malbec while we shared our lists. It may be the last year in a long time in which we both have extended time off and no real financial obligations tying us down. We picnicked, and read and traveled and hung out with friends, and drank in biergartens and swam in incredible oceans and generally just savored life. It was a carefree, adventure-filled year and difficult to whittle down a few highlights- which we took for a pretty good sign. It doesn’t escape our knowledge that we were incredibly fortunate in 2013.

2013 in Review
Year in Review 2013

And now it’s time for 2014! We rang in the new year with family and good friends. We had a delicious dinner of lobster mac n’ cheese prepared by Melissa and started the night with fun family games before heading over for drinks with some friends at Sam and Cliff’s apartment and ended the night at Bubba’s Sulky Lounge– touted as Portland #1 dance club. They had two light up dance floors and a DJ spinning some 90’s and modern hits. It was a lot of fun to dance the night away and a great way to start off the new year.


2014 should also be a big year though probably not in such a dramatic, wedding and travel-filled fashion as its predecessor. The big adventure will be figuring out where we in this great big world we’ll be able to find fulfilling jobs and a new community to build a home. We’re still open to all corners of the globe, but are focusing our current search in the States. Hopefully we’ll be able to provide more interesting updates in the near future once we actually make some forward progress on this whole job/home thing. In the meantime we’ll keep seeking out free thrills as unemployed nomads. Hope you all had a festive New Year and a positive start to 2014!