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

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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.

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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

Wedded Bliss

We got our wedding video and we’re so excited to share it!!! It was such a memorable day and having this little glimpse back into it is such a valuable keepsake. A HUGE thanks to Jamie and his team at All Because He Asked. He did a great job of capturing how fun and relaxed the whole day was. Can we go back and do it all again?!?!

Mid-May

How is it already May?! Mid-May to be precise. I know I always comment on how fast time flies, but for goodness sake 2014 is well on its way to being half complete! I guess one of the great things about keeping up with our blog is that it gives us a moment to reflect on time and what we’ve done and accomplished throughout the year. It’s also an incredible gift to be able to look back and recall our adventures from years past.

For some reason May has always been a good month for me. Maybe it’s a good month for everyone, but I’ve always felt like good things happen in May. The weather is usually pretty perfect, it often signifies the closing of another school year, in admissions it’s the calm after the storm that is April, and it’s my favorite month to take vacation! In that vein I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to look for a camping spot or hotel for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately, I started my search a little late and hadn’t had much luck with campground vacancies or decent priced hotels. I was a little discouraged about not finding something and had expressed my frustration to Dave. He, being the amazing husband that he is, listened to my complaints and amazingly surprised me after work on Friday by having the car all packed up and a house rented down in San Clemente for the weekend!

I’m usually pretty aware (some might say nosy) so it’s hard to surprise me, but he did! We had a great weekend hanging out at the beach, having drinks on the pier, playing cribbage and doing crosswords on the house’s deck and in general just enjoying a bit of privacy we haven’t had in awhile. It was such a thoughtful surprise and I absolutely loved it!! It also made me even more excited to find our own place in LA, something we’re planning to do early this summer.

In addition to beach getaways we’ve been keeping busy with work and other activities. Dave plays on a soccer team out of LA that has games Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. He’s also been out golfing with my dad a few times and made some side trips to the driving range to improve his long ball. And on Cinco de Mayo he whipped up some homemade carnitas and for mother’s day cooked up a delicious breakfast feast. While Dave’s been perfecting his soccer, golf and cooking skills I’ve been busy with work, some social activities and a few fun preparations for the upcoming wedding season. A couple weeks ago my high school class hosted its 11 year reunion in Old Town Pasadena and it was so fun to see girls I hadn’t talked to since we graduated back in 2003! The next weekend we celebrated mothers and daughters at the annual Mother/Daughter Luncheon at church. It was fun to be ladies who lunch under the tent with a fun little boutique of homemade goods. A few weeks later my great friend Alexis, who is getting married in July, had her gorgeous bridal shower at the Palihouse in Hollywood. Then last week I was finally able to catch up with my Boston buddy, Rachel, at the Food Haus Cafe in LA. It was so good to see her and get the lowdown on her life.  And lastly, this week marks the return of The Bachelorette on TV. It’s one of my guilty pleasures and I’m hosting the girls for the premiere. Hopefully it’s an action packed season for our viewing pleasure:) So many good times with the wonderful women in my life. I’m so happy so many make “girl time” a priority- I never laugh as much as when I’m enjoying a good session of girl talk!

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We’ve also been able to have a few date nights and explore some new places in LA. Our favorite was the outdoor biergarten at Berlin Currywurst in Hollywood- reminded us of the good old days! Up next for us is a much anticipated three day weekend, followed by my cousin Alondra’s birthday and graduation party at the end of the month and then my birthday weekend getaway to San Francisco leading into a professional development opportunity in San Jose. I’m sure the next few weeks will fly by as they always do and updates will follow closely behind…Love to all!

xoxo- Daverian

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

We got an early start yesterday to make it to the sunrise service my parent’s church organizes at 7:00am on Easter morning. The service takes place in Wilderness Park up in Arcadia and is a beautiful way to start the holiday. It’s also the location where we took our engagement photos- so a special place for a couple reasons. Trumpet music opens the service and shortly after doves are released. Easter, in all Christian churches, is one of the most special celebrations of the year, but I particularly look forward to the natural beauty that comes along with the service put on by Our Savior.

After church we drove down the hill and into Monrovia for brunch at the quirky and delicious Peach Cafe. We all indulged in a decadent breakfast and warmed up with coffee on their outdoor patio. The rest of the morning was made up with reading the paper, naps and a little prep for Easter dinner. We had the traditional HoneyBaked ham with two kinds of potatoes, salad and some yummy Stone Brewery samplers. It was a relaxing and family-filled Easter and the first I’ve been able to spend in Sierra Madre in almost a decade!

This past weekend was also brought my first day off in three weeks! Needless to say- I’ve been looking forward to this time off for awhile!  Luckily April is almost at a close and then life in the admissions world should slow down significantly. I’m coming up on a month at USC and I’ve learned A LOT in the short time that I’ve been on board. It’s been challenging stepping into this role at such a critical time in the admissions process, but the other staff and students have been so welcoming and patient. I’m curious to see what my typical day-to-day will look like come May, and am looking forward to getting more comfortable with all the new projects and material. Also hopefully getting to attend a couple football games in the fall:)

Dave got back last Tuesday from his cross country road trip with our lovely new Honda Civic. We’re so thankful to have such a generous family and the car is already coming in handy. Even though I take the metro to and from work each day LA is such a car-centric city and this will give us the ability to explore more and hopefully soon find a place of our own. Dave and Alan drove together from Portland to Denver, stopping in Philadelphia and St. Louis for baseball games. They also had the chance to check out the Budweiser Brewery and City Museum in St. Louis.

They did a lot of driving making it from Maine to Colorado in just 4 days. Last Sunday, after a long drive through Kansas (Not so exciting) Alan flew home and Dave spent the night in Boulder hanging out with Jeff and Seth before hitting the road again on Monday. He drove to Cedar City, Utah outside of Zion National Park on Monday night so he could get to the park at dawn and spend a few hours hiking. He ended up waking up at 5am and driving to Zion getting there at 7 only to find out the park doesn’t typically open until 8! Luckily the gates were open anyway and Dave was able to get in and take a 7 am shuttle to the trailhead.

For those who have not been to Zion National Park it is a heavily visited park in southern Utah that comprises mainly of the Zion River winding through the massive, dramatic sandstone cliff-walled canyon often in narrow areas. Because of this geography and popularity, the only way to travel into the Canyon is by a free shuttle bus operated by the park service. The system works fairly well at keeping car traffic out of the canyon but really bottlenecks park visitors at the visitors’ center at the bottom of the Canyon. Getting there really early turned out to be a good move as by the time Dave left, the park was packed, even running out of parking spaces. This was on a weekday in April so imagine what it might be like in the middle of the summer!

The two most popular hikes in Zion are the Narrows which is a hike through the river in the narrow part of the canyon and Angel’s Landing. Dave was not interested in getting his feet wet, so he chose Angel’s landing. The hike was difficult, including a lot of elevation gain in a short distance and some hand over hand climbing at the end over a narrow ridge between two 1500 foot cliffs. The views of the winding river and the dramatic sandstone cliffs at the end were well worth it though! Here is a pic he took of the Zion River Canyon from the top of Angel’s Landing.

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After the hike Dave finished the drive passing through Las Vegas (no stop over for gambling unfortunately) and onto Sierra Madre in just over six hours. A long journey finished and now some much needed rest for both us… me from work and him from driving!

Already April

A few weeks ago I got some very exciting news from USC when they called to offer me a position as an Assistant Director of Admissions! I started at the end of March and am really excited to be back in the world of higher education. I think USC will be a dynamic place to work and we’re happy to finally know what city we’ll be in for the next couple of years! As anyone who’s ever worked in admissions knows April is a CRAZY month and I’ve been put right to work. I’m doing my best to learn all there is to know about my new office and will be traveling to admitted student events over the course of the month. Last weekend I was in the bay area and I’m headed to Texas next weekend. Starting a new job is always a little overwhelming, but I really like my colleagues and they’ve been great about sharing information and making me feel welcome.

At the end of last week Dave traveled back to Maine to visit with family and retrieve his mom’s old car. Melissa is investing in a new vehicle and generously offered us her old model. Dave and his dad are driving the car across country later this week. They’ll be stopping in a couple cities along the way to catch baseball games and Dave’s thinking about stopping at Zion to do a little hiking if time permits. Dave was in Maine to celebrate his dad’s birthday last weekend and was also able to go skiing with friends.  In the next few days he’ll be packing up some of our stuff from storage and then on Wednesday they’ll head out west.

We don’t have a ton of things planned in the near future, but are excited to be back in California for Easter. It will be the first time I’ve been home for the holiday since college and am looking forward to sunrise service in Wilderness Park, family brunch and The 10 Commandments. It’s not the most thrilling of times, but we’re happy and healthy and life aint bad:)

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.

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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.

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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:)