United States

Unique Overnights: Airbnb in Los Angeles, California

This summer I’ve been traveling a lot to Southern California for my job. I’m working at UC Davis through the Climate Adaptation Program at the Policy Institute of Energy, Economy, and Environment. Anyway, my job has involved speaking with drinking water systems of different sizes and types (wholesale and retailer). More on that in another post– amazing experience and fantastic conversations!

For now though, I’ll focus on the travel side of it all! Recently, I drove down to Los Angeles (about 7 hours from Davis) for an interview. Just one night. I’ve stayed in hotels, campgrounds, VRBOs, and Airbnbs this summer– so I usually do some searching for a place that is decently priced (I’m working within the constraints of a University research grant budget after all) and funky and different if possible. Anyway, as I was scouring the Airbnb website, I stumbled upon a unique gem that I just have to mention: Rare! Guest Quarters near Hollywood.

This place can best be described as an exotic basement bungalow, although not in the strict definition of the word. It is located in the basement portion of a house in a residential area and is accessed down the driveway through a basement porch glass sliding door. The space is full of charm and a unique feeling of being transported into a whole other world. There are two bedrooms, a small kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, stove, and sink, a bathroom with a shower and full set of closets. There are 2-3 living room type areas- one close to one of the bedrooms which has a “night clubish” feeling to it, one with a fireplace and l-shaped couch, and one that is more of glassed-in porch. Coincidentally, this last room is the only room in the place with windows (and therefore, home to the majority of the light/only natural light in the place). There are two air conditioning units in the apartment (one in each bedroom). Perhaps the only thing this little gem of a place could have been improved in is the temperature. We stayed when it was pretty warm out and found the air conditioners to take a while to kick-in, but once they did, everything was pleasant! Another note on the uniqueness of the spot- there’s a sliding wall in one room that cuts off a living room from a bedroom and there’s another sliding bookcase in the first bedroom that will lead you to the kitchen.

As far as the hosts, we had a great experience. We were only there for one night and it was for business, so we didn’t have any specific needs- just wanted a cool place to stay. We received explicit directions from the hosts on contacting them once we parked on the street and they talked us through getting down to the “bungalow” and explained how the air conditioning units worked– one of which needed to be emptied when it turned itself off. Wifi is included and the host texted us the code as soon as we were settled. The area where the house is located is very close to the main area of the Atwater Village commercial district which has some great coffee shops and restaurants.

The last thing I’ll mention here (and reiterate) is that if you are someone who relies on a great deal of light, this is probably not the place for you. But, if you’re looking for a cool and unique spot to relax that really is unlike the majority of other places you’ve stayed- this makes the list! It’s a really funky spot and if you are flexible and not extremely high maintenance, this is a great spot. I tried to take some quick tour video while we were there with my iphone so you could see what it’s like– it’s not fantastic quality, so bear with it. There are also some photos. The better pictures are indeed included on the airbnb site.


Categories: Unique Places to Stay, United States | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Happy 2015, everyone! We hope you had a great holiday season with your family and friends! We spent Christmas in Pennsylvania with my parents which was very relaxing. Then we headed to Ocean City, MD for New Year’s… where something crazy and completely unexpected happened: Andrew proposed! It happened at sunrise on New Years Day. I had absolutely no idea. I didn’t even know he had a ring or what the ring was… turns out, Andrew is sneaky (in the best way possible).

We shot a video of the sunrise using our IPhone and the Time-Lapse feature. The video is set to Caroline Pennel’s version of Anything Can Happen. Here’s the link to the video on our YouTube channel:



Here’s a picture of the ring:

Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring

It’s recycled platinum with a type of garnet- a Hessonite. It’s the perfect ring for many reasons but even more perfect because it’s orange (my favorite color) and it’s his birthstone. I’m a not a huge diamond fan and as you either already learned or will learn, I don’t follow the norm. My birthstone… also happens to be a diamond. Additionally, the setting came from a company that is eco-conscious and uses all recycled metals. Anyway, it is perfect.

After the proposal, we spent about an hour looking at rental houses in Costa Rica… that’s where we met and we had talked about how fun it would be to have a wedding there…so we looked at ridiculously priced mansion that no one in their right mind could ever afford… just because. We went out to a lazy breakfast at Dough Roller and just “bathed in the love” for a while. We called our families that afternoon. This leads me to the first thing that we learned about getting engaged/planning a wedding: we had no idea how long the calls and conversations about getting engaged would be. I’m not saying it was a bad thing; on the contrary, it was so fun to hear how excited our parents and siblings and siblings-in-law were about the news… we just figured the conversations would be shorter. About 4 hours later (hehe– lots to talk about!) we were exhausted and utterly smitten. :0).

We spent the first part of Friday at Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE. Fantastic place, by the way. The tours are free and you get 4 free samples from their list of at least 12 different beers. They also have a non-alcoholic beverage on tap called Beach Beer. The tour is over an hour long but takes you through the different areas of the brewery and explains all the different processes and beers made there as well as the bottling facility. Very awesome. Another post on Dogfish Head later.


Four Free Beer Samples!


After that, we headed to Andrew’s other surprise… the Ultimate Couples Retreat. It included a 1.5-hour full body massage, a bottle of champagne with strawberries and chocolate fondue, an hour in a hot tub, and then dinner. Dinner consisted of three courses: the first course was granny smith apples, baguette, and veggies with a 17-herb cheese fondue; the second course was chicken, shrimp, filet mignon, and vegetables with a broth fondue; and the third course was graham crackers, marshmallows, cookies, bananas, and strawberries with chocolate fondue. The dinner was served with a bottle of wine (Andrew requested Moscato for me… yummmm!)

First course: 17-herb cheese fondue!

First course: 17-herb cheese fondue!

So, 2015 started off on a high note for us– and we couldn’t be more excited for the future!

Categories: United States, Wedding Planning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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