“Asst.” /əˈsist/

Noun, abbreviation for assistant – one whose job is to assist another person.

Example: “No no no, my email address doesn’t have my name. It’s my boss’s name and then ‘_asst’ …as in assistant. It takes a few years for us to earn our own identities…”


Dara Eliacin and TJ Barber both graduated from rival Ivy League schools in May 2015.

That July they both moved to Los Angeles to get their start in Hollywood.

She started in the mailroom of an agency.

He started in the mailroom of a management company.

…on the same street …0.8 miles apart.

Many more coincidences and less than a month later, they found themselves in a relationship, trying to find time for each other while also working 12 hour weekdays and reading scripts and books on weekends. Going on dates is hard when you can only see each other from 9-11pm and on weekends. It’s even harder when you make $10 an hour, live on opposite ends of town, and only one of you has a car.

But almost two years later, they’ve been creative in making it work. Started in May 2017, this blog follows all the ways they’ve managed to have cheap fun in Los Angeles and around the world in the few precious hours a week they get to identify outside of _asst.


Dara “I’m really bad at staying still and calm” Eliacin


TJ “I’m likely to try and climb anything in sight” Barber


At the end of every blog post, we’ve included a cost report of our trip with the rounded amounts of how much we paid and a general cost rating on a $ – $$$$$ scale. Here’s the key:

$ = less than $25/person

$$ = $25 – $75/person

$$$ = $75 – $150/person

$$$$ = $150 – $500/person

$$$$$ = $501+/person

The blog tends to be updated on Wednesdays and/or Fridays! Happy reading!


All content on this site is original unless otherwise noted.