Escape Monthly January: Portland Box review

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It’s Portland time! I got the Oregon box over a year ago and I like that they didn’t have much overlap with that one. It’s great to see some brands that are new to me and different variations for the brands I am familiar with.

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a lovely recurring referral commission program.

escape monthly january portland box products showing escape monthly january portland box info card escape monthly january portland box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

I’m liking the curation of this box! It’s a good mix of food, body care, and home stuff. I’m pretty excited about most of these items.

Here’s what came in the box:

Masala Pop Saffron Rose Popcorn with Sea Salt – Ooo, this looks luxurious. After learning about how prized saffron is, anything with it sounds cool. This is my second time seeing this brand – I enjoyed the Chai Masala flavor from the India box, but it stuck together after I opened it and didn’t eat it quickly enough so I’m saving this for when I can finish it in one sitting.

Moon Handbooks guide to Portland – You know, Panda and I were planning on going to the Pacific Northwest last year and didn’t make it, so now I have have some guide books to peruse when we finally do get around to that trip. Portland will certainly be on that list! I also have friends who moved there in the past few years, so maybe we can explore together.

Keep Portland Weird! soy candle – Soy candles are awesome. This one has a nice charity component and the candle is a lovely lemongrass type scent. I wonder if it’s the only mix they offer? Well, I’m happy to have a clean-burning candle to use in the future.

Portland Bee Balm in Oregon Mint – Previously I got this bonus item in the original unscented variety; since then they’ve changed up their packaging! The tube is encased in a cool wood sheet that looks awesome. I like that we get to try a different scent/flavor for this one and it’s fantastic that they are supporting beekeepers. Bees are a crucial part of our ecosystem, after all.

Molly Muriel Butter Up shea butter bar soap – The info sheet talks about a different scented soap from what I got. I’m a fan of this one, so I’m happy! I can’t wait to use this – it looks like it’s going to feel great on my skin. This will be perfect for the winter. We got the Volcanic Bliss bar in a previous box, which I just love.

Rose City Pepperheads Berry Trio – Whoa, spicy and sweet jelly things? I have no clue what to do with these. I see they can be for dipping or cooking, so I’ll have to do some research and try them out a few ways. Luckily, their site includes some recipes and suggestions for how to enjoy them.

Valentina’s Home-Brewed Magickal Mineral Bath Salts in Habit Breaker – Oh, bath salts, how I adore thee… I was most excited about this product! It’s whimsical and slightly wacky, yet a totally wonderful thing. They gave a very generous size and the scent seeping through is sweet and beautiful. I look forward to relaxing in a bath with some of this. :)

Well, last month I was hoping for a candle, skincare product, or something else non-food. Guess what we got this time? All of the above! So yes, I am pretty happy. What’s your favorite from this Portland Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): NASHVILLE or MYESCAPE for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

Just when I thought I was going to stop getting Escape Monthly, they announce for next month a city that is completely new to me and surprisingly compelling for keeping my subscription just one more month. I guess I’ll choose between a facial or massage each month until I decide to cancel this (at which point I’ll treat myself to both monthly!). This time they didn’t show the next month’s city on the back, but their Facebook page has indicated it will be Nashville. I know very little about that part of the country, so I’m excited!

escape monthly january portland box info card back with chance to win a trip details

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

When sisters meet

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It’s been long enough now that Smokey and Missy are getting along pretty well. They still have some spats, but they mostly keep it civil. Here’s what it was like the first night Missy arrived after her trip. Smokey spent a lot of time stalking her and staring her down. She’d then hiss (I’ve only ever heard her hiss once prior to this) and sometimes run off. I was concerned about them both, so I kept a close eye for hours into the night. Panda and I ended up sleeping in separate rooms so both cats would have someone with them.

Missy first emerged into a brand new home.

Missy first emerged into a brand new home.

Eventually Smokey came by to smell what all the commotion was about.

Eventually Smokey came by to smell what all the commotion was about.

Missy took to the stairs nearby as her hiding spot.

Missy took to the stairs nearby as her hiding spot.

At some point she found a box to hide in and Smokey didn't even know they got so close!

At some point she found a box to hide in and Smokey didn’t even know they got so close!

Most of the night was spent monitoring Smokey as she stared at Missy from afar.

Most of the night was spent monitoring Smokey as she stared at Missy from afar.

Missy hid under the couch a bit and only emerged with coaxing.

Missy hid under the couch a bit and only emerged with coaxing.

Eventually we settled in for bed around 3, though Missy decided hiding under the bed felt more safe than being in it. Maybe she didn’t know that Smokey was stuck on the other side of the door.

Love With Food Taste the Season January 2015 review

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Alright, this should be my last box from them. The six-month subscription is finally over and I won’t have to worry about accumulating snacks that I feel guilty about. All in all this box just didn’t suit my needs, but I think it’d be great for kids and folks who are less picky eaters.

Love With Food is $12 per box (or as discounted as $120 for an entire year, with an option in between) and comes with 8 or more snack products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you points towards products or boxes.

contents of january 2015 love with food box including eight snacks info card with details for january 2015 love with food snacks(click to enlarge and read messaging)

I haven’t gotten around to trying any of these yet and I don’t want to open them since I need more snacks at work. I’ve had the Somersaults before and I think I remember liking the salty pepper taste over their chocolate and other sweeter options. At first I thought I received the Stash Breakfast in Paris tea in my Escape Monthly box as well, but turns out that was the Christmas in Paris. This one sounds good – lavender, bergamot, and vanilla flavors instead of chocolate and peppermint. I saw the Big Slice kettle cooked apples and other flavors at Target and they’ve been on my “to try” list so I’m happy to get that! I sure hope it tastes good.

I think the Wai Lana Cassava Pops will be nice and light with that crunch of airiness, so I’ll have those the next time I want a salty treat. I’m hesitant with the Babalu In-Shell Almonds. I’m not a fan of nuts, but I did have some tasty chocolate-covered almonds at work, so who knows. I might just love’em. Ooo and then there are the chocolate treats! A Luna Mini bar with chocolate and coconut. I quite like coconut bits. Then more cacao nibs to add to my current stash with Britt chocolates cacao nibs. What a fun little package too. It reminds me of those frozen popsicle things. And finally, the piece of Alter Eco Velvet Truffle will be a wonderful treat when I want a bite of something special.

So based on the impressions I have of these items, I’m quite happy! We’ll see if they live up to my expectations or completely surprise me. Which items do you like best from this box?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box at the special offer price and wanted to share what I got!]

Buca di Beppo deal!

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buca di beppo promotional deal email for $15 towards mealThis weekend, Panda and I got a chance to go to the Buca di Beppo to redeem an offer. It was some sort of promo they were doing and the first 50k to register got $15 towards their meal! We both signed up and received the email for it. For some reason I could not find mine for the life of me, so we printed his and headed out. Later on, I was desperate so I checked in CloudMagic for the email and BAM they found it! I still couldn’t tell where it was originally in my email server, but that didn’t matter. I figured I might as well try showing the email and hope for the best.

buca di beppo welcome offer email with free pasta dealAlong with that email, my search result pulled up a welcome email with a different offer. At first I didn’t pay much attention, but then I decided to open it up. Turns out you can get a free pasta for joining their mailing list. I decided I’d rather get the free pasta, but I’d try to use them both. As we were looking at the menu in the restaurant, Panda checked his email and found that he had missed the welcome email, but received it as well. He had already placed his order for the penne arrabbiata using the $15 voucher, but I figured it was all such a great deal we might as well order everything and have a bunch of leftovers.

So, ultimately we were both able to redeem the free pasta (I went for the ziti and he opted for the spaghetti). I used my $15 towards the bruschetta. All in all, this entire feast only cost us about $8! Now how splendid is that?! It’s too bad Buca isn’t located closer and more convenient to us, or I’m sure we’d be here more often. Still, I plan on going back – I enjoyed all the pastas and really liked the brushetta.

buca di beppo meal to go with penne arrabbiata, bruschetta, bread, spaghetti marinara, and baked ziti

Yogi Surprise January 2015 review

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Alright, after a first box that I liked, I was really looking forward to the next one. It’s another one with a variety of items that I’m glad I get to try! I guess I’m really into the yoga lifestyle.

Yogi Surprise is just under $36 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with yoga gear, skincare, food, and other lifestyle products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

contents of yogi surprise january 2015 box yogi surprise jan 2015 info card with restore & rejuvenate theme yogi surprise january 2015 info card with product details

lotus moon roll-on eye massage treatment – Oh, this smells fabulous. It’s rose and a hint of something else – very soothing and calming. The metal roller helps cool the eye area as you roll this on and then it tingles a bit. I don’t think my eyes are particularly puffy or saggy, but I’m not opposed to using this treatment to help prevent that sort of thing. It’s simple to use and fun, so why not?

Moon Valley Organics Rejuvenating Rub – First of all, this brand has fun packaging. When you open up the back of the box, it sort of unfolds like a flower opening. They share their story with you and you get a good sense of their ideals. The rub is in a metal tube and I felt bad squeezing it since it was such a pretty shape. The rub is much more solid than I expected – I thought it’d be lotion-like but it’s more of a butter. The mint and lavender scent is perfect for this product and there’s a slight cooling feel after rubbing it on. I’ll use this whenever I have sore muscles for sure.

Next Organics Dark Chocolate Cherries – I love that they use organic cherries and dark chocolate. It’s a nice bite-size piece of sweetness. Watch out, it’s very sweet! Two pieces at a time is pretty good for me. I’m glad that they use actual cherries and not some cherry-flavored thing. I’ve only ever liked actual cherries; artificial cherry flavor just doesn’t work for me. I also love dark chocolate and the combo here is nice.

Sacred Wood Essence Palo Santo Incense Sticks – Wow, what a scent! You can definitely smell it as you open the box and the whole of the six sticks emanates out around you. I’ll store these in my Infinity Jar to help preserve them longer since one stick will likely last me a long time. They are a little taller than would fit right now, so once I burn them down a bit or cut off pieces to use, I’ll preserve them for a long time to come. I can see this being the scent used at yoga studios and it certainly helps clear my sinuses and tension in my head. Amazing how strong they are even in the packaging!

bolt tape – This is cool and not listed on the card, but there are two sample strips included in my box. I’m very intrigued and will save this for a time that I truly feel achy. I can’t wait to see how it feels and if I notice the effects. I get a lot of tension in my back and shoulders, so I like to schedule massages – maybe this could help and I can cut back on massages to pay for the facials I plan on getting more regularly now.

Essence of Vali Soothing Mist in Sleep – I’ve had the EoV  in Sleep before, so I’m familiar with the scent. I’ll have to keep this handy to spray on before I sleep at night! It’s very relaxing and I hope it helps me get better sleep. I haven’t been resting well lately.

Betsy’s Best Bar None in Dark Chocolate Chip – This is a funny little snack that’s shaped like a bread roll and kind of reminds me of a nutrition bar. It’s softer though, which I appreciate and the chocolate chips are perfect inside. I was surprised that I actually ate through one whole one (there are two in the pack) in one go and it was just what I needed to get me through until dinner. I’ll have to consider these for trips when I want to pack a nourishing snack that doesn’t take up much space and isn’t messy.

What a nice start to the year! Yogi Surprise is going into my rotation now so I’ll pick a box or two to give up to make room for it.

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Beauty Box 5 January 2015 review

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This was a great box that covered the essential face and nail care needs. I’ll be keeping all the items and I even started using some already.

Beauty Box 5 is $12 per box (or as discounted as $99 for an entire year, with an option in between) and comes with 5 cosmetic products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. You also have the option of buying it as a gift your box to a friend. They offer a referral program that earns you points towards products or boxes.

january 2015 beauty box 5 contents beauty box 5 december 2014 information card

Coastal Scents Eye Shadow samples in Mint Condition, Sundried, Stone Cold, and Wild Raisin: These are adorable, but totally not my thing. Adding it to the trade box! My favorite shades there are the sundried and wild raisin, since they’re warmer colors and can be more subtle.

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Misbehaved: These are fab! I like the simple pattern – nothing too bold, yet it’s still got character. With 16 strips and my shorter style of nails, I can actually use these up to three times for manis/pedis. In fact, I’ve already used 5 strips to do a full mani on my hands. I’m going to have to look for more of these because I just had so much fun and I love the look that I couldn’t accomplish on my own by painting my nails.

Ultraflesh The Gold Standard Mascara in Blackout: The gold tube is luxurious so already I feel great. The brush is more bristle-y than I expected, but it works and I love the flexible design rather than the stiff rods most brushes seem to be. It gave my lashes a great boost so now I’ll just have to see how it wears throughout the day. So far I’m liking it, though I wish it applied more easily to my baby lashes towards the inner corners of my eyes.

Softsoap Nutri Serums Body Nourishing Wash: Ok, I’m a huge sucker for anything with those little suspended pearls. It just looks so fun! I’m saving this for my travel bag next time I go somewhere. It’s perfect to bring along!

Garnier Fructis Daily Care Fortifying Shampoo: Another great travel-sized item to keep in my travel stash. Actually, now that I say that I should really have a designated travel stash. I like Garnier so I’ll definitely use this when I’m not at home. Too bad the small bottles don’t have the same top as the full size. That’d be so cute.

With a theme of “hello!” they kept it pretty open to just about anything. I certainly feel like I’m getting a great start to the year with this set of products. Now I can stay clean and have smashing eyes and nails with style. :) What items appeal to you from this month’s box?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

So what

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if I subscribe to newsletters but never read them.
if I eat dessert first.
if I field test clothes with tags on them even after I decide to keep them.
if I order two appetizers and an entree for lunch.
if I obsess over checking in on Yelp.
if I practice my signature for potential autographing needs as an author.
if I am super particular about how I add pictures to FB (it’s a 12-step process).
if I forget to share pics for months (mostly because of my complicated FB posting process).
if I test the limits of my memory space (and I forgot why I wrote this).
if I drop my phone three times a day.
if I keep way too many lists.
if I prance around barefoot when possible.
if I notice your little ticks (and it kind of bothers me).
if I don’t care for pop culture.
if I drink hot water even in the summer.
if I eat all I want and don’t gain weight.
if I am always the exception.
if I sometimes resent my cat for not snuggling with me.
if I check the mail always hoping for a package even when I’m not expecting something.
if I can’t seem to rid my life of clutter.

Homegrown Collective December 2014 review

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Excellent timing with the theme this month as people are starting to get sick all around. They’ve introduced us to some of these herbs before and it’s great to see how versatile the uses are, whether infused into something or used more directly.

The Homegrown Collective GREENBOX is $39 per box + $9 shipping (or as discounted as $429 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with fun and easy projects to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program you can apply to join.

inside of homegrown remedies and cure-alls homegrown collective box with the info sheets on the inner lid contents of the homegrown collective december 2014 box with homegrown remedies and cure-alls theme

First they outlined the benefits of three main herbs: dandelion, St. John’s Wort, and echinacea. I love that each addresses different ailments so that combined you’re pretty well covered for digestive issues, low energy, and immunity concerns. These are some useful plants!

the homegrown collective december 2014 medicinal herbs info card the homegrown collective december 2014 products for medicinal herbs

Project #1, DIY vapor rub & salve: What a simple set of ingredients to help us breathe better if we do get sick. I’m familiar with vapor rubs for the chest but haven’t really used them. However, I know how effective menthol can be in clearing up my nasal passage! It’s fascinating that they recommend rubbing this under the feet as well. I certainly wouldn’t have thought of that!

the homegrown collective december 2014 vapor rub and salve info card the homegrown collective december 2014 products for vapor rub and salve

Project #2, cough & cold syrup: My very own cough syrup?! This is cool. I remember we had a bottle of some awful cherry-flavored thing as a child and I hated it. I’ve never really been a fan of cherry-flavored stuff. I think this will be much more to my taste with honey, ginger, and cinnamon. It might not even taste like medicine!

Project #3, DIY herbal teas: As a fan of tea, I’m happy to put other plants in my drink for their healing properties. I’ve got to admit I haven’t yet tried the dandelion tea from nearly a year ago, but I will be! I drink a lot of tea at work so switching to these shouldn’t be hard and I don’t need to be sick to try that.

the homegrown collective december 2014 herbal syrups and teas info card the homegrown collective december 2014 products for herbal syrups and teas

Project #4, DIY tinctures: I first learned of a tincture from last December’s box and I’m super intrigued, but totally intimidated. I don’t know where to get vodka or rum and how that will affect the taste of these. I don’t get sick very often, so I haven’t needed something like this yet. However, there was a period last winter that I felt awful and this could have been handy.

Project #5, DIY essential oils: I’m getting quite the amazing collection of essential oils and I love it. Star anise essential oil is not something I’d come across before, so I was curious to learn about it. I’m not quite sure what to do with these once mixed – do I rub it on my skin? Drop it on my tongue? How often? I tried to do more research on their blog but for some reason I don’t see posts past August.

the homegrown collective december 2014 essential oils and tinctures info card the homegrown collective december 2014 products for essential oils and tinctures

This time there were a ton of smaller projects that are quick and easy. I feel like I have a whole arsenal of stuff to help keep me healthy throughout the season. It’s great! I’ve already made the vapor rub, which I will share another time. :)

Subscribe to the Homegrown Collective so you can get these types of cool projects too! It’ll make for a happier home and better health.

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Power Supply Week of Dec 15 review

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After pausing for a weeks for the holidays, I’ll be receiving my next batch of food next week. In an effort to keep up with the reviews, here’s the second week’s worth of food I got! We’re starting to see repeats of the dishes from the first week so it looks like they’re cycling through the meals every 5 weeks.

Power Supply is around $9.50-$15.50 per meal (when you sign up for a recurring plan – single orders are 5% more) and offers a variety of ready-made meal types, all gluten- and dairy-free. Boxes are sent once or twice weekly (depending on your plan) and you have total control over customization of which meals you get. You can easily switch between plans or choose to skip some weeks. They offer a referral program that earns free meals for referrer and referree.

Sundried Tomato Basil Grilled Chicken w/ Citrusy Carrot Salad

power supply sundried tomato basil grilled chicken with cirtusy carrot salad paleo lunch meal in box

I decided to begin with a lighter fare.

power supply sundried tomato basil grilled chicken with cirtusy carrot salad paleo lunch meal open

Chicken wasn’t super tasty, but the dressing gave it a bit more flavor. I liked the carrot salad – crunchy and tangy.

Jerk Chicken w/ Garlic Spinach, Brown Rice & Coconut Sauce (NEW)

power supply jerk chicken with garlic spinach, brown rice, and coconut sauce mixitarian lunch meal in box

I forgot a pic of this after I microwaved it. It didn’t stand out as particularly good or bad.

Garlic Baked Cod w/ Tomatillo Dressing, Spinach & Herbed Mashed Sweet Potatoes

power supply garlic baked cod with tomatillo dressing, spinach, and herbed mashed sweet potatoes mixitarian dinner meal in box

Grabbed this one for lunch during a meeting.

power supply garlic baked cod with tomatillo dressing, spinach, and herbed mashed sweet potatoes mixitarian dinner meal open

I enjoyed the cod and the tomatillos were nice and soft. I didn’t end up eating the sweet potato mash since it was kind of sour.

Beef Stew w/ Braised Root Vegetables

power supply beef stew with braised root vegetables paleo dinner meal in box

A coworker had extras so I decided to try this one out.

power supply beef stew with braised root vegetables paleo dinner meal open

All quite tasty, but far more meat than I prefer. I cleaned up the vegetables!

Spanish Frittata w/ Kale, Brussels Sprout & Bacon Hash & Pumpkin Mousse (NEW)

power supply spanish frittata with kale, brussel sprouts and bacon hash, and pumpkin mousse mixitarian lunch meal in box

I took this home to eat over the weekend.

power supply spanish frittata with kale, brussel sprouts and bacon hash, and pumpkin mousse mixitarian lunch meal open

I really liked the salad. The frittata turned out to be a bit too heavy for my taste, but with the salsa it was more refreshing.

Spring Turkey Salad w/ Green Beans & Dried Cherries

power supply spring turkey salad with green beans and dried cherries mixitarian lunch meal in box

I gave this to Panda to eat for lunch and he loved it.

power supply spring turkey salad with green beans and dried cherries mixitarian lunch meal open

I will be ordering this again the next time around so maybe I can try it. If not, at least I know it’ll be enjoyed by someone. :)

Traveling by plane with a pet

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Ever wonder what it’s like to fly with a cat? Here’s my story… (or skip to the tips if you’re pressed for time)

cat sitting on person meowing and looking out window of back seat of car

Off we go! Missy was a bit worried. What are all those cars?!

My mom finally relented after over a year and a half of debating whether I could and should bring Missy to the east coast with me, so yesterday I boarded a plane, cat carrier in tow. I purchased the in-cabin pet ticket about a week ago – originally there was a place to add the pet from my reservation online, but when I went back when I was ready to commit, it was nowhere to be found. I ended up calling up the airline to purchase it for $125. Luckily, we already had a carrier that my mom used back when she moved one of my previous cats, Jerriey, to Beijing.

The morning of, we packed my bags and then brought Molly down to witness Missy leaving. Molly kept running away and didn’t seem at all interested, but she did notice Missy in the carrier. At first Missy was a little confused, but calm as she wondered what was going on. Once we started to drive, she got scared and meowed all sorts of meows – timid frightened ones, deep guttural ones, and loud complaining ones. Occasionally she panted as if she were hyperventilating.

cat sitting in back window of car driving on freeway

For awhile, she “hid” in the back.

At one point, my mom complained of the smell of feces. My cousin and I were oblivious until much later, when I suddenly smelled it too. I saw one piece, which I was able to pick out with a paper towel. My mom didn’t believe there was only one, so we let the cat out and found a bunch more! We picked them all up in the paper towels and I tried to ignore the smell. Eventually, I found a plastic bag to tie it all up in and Missy seemed better when she was able to move around, sit on my cousin, and look out the window. We continued on and all seemed well until my cousin noticed a strange smell. She looked around and found that somehow Missy had pooped again – this time it was more wet and probably due to the nerves. At this point we were stopping so I could get some See’s Candy to bring back. We used the last of the tissues and paper towels we could find to pick up the new batch and I took the plastic bag with everything to throw it out.

By the time we reached the airport, I felt like the carrier smelled of urine. There was nothing I could do just yet, so I met up with Panda and we checked in our luggage. The cat carrier counted as an item, so I couldn’t bring my suitcase AND the tote bag I usually have, so I checked the suitcase. Since I had to check a bag anyway, I decided to pack an extra suitcase and bring back some of the things I had been meaning to transport, like my Lumnique candle (the whole box it came in) and my set of Crate & Barrel glasses, carafe, and tray that I won.

person carrying cat through security at airportWhen we went through security, I was surprised to discover they had me carry Missy through the screening. I thought I’d bring the whole carrier, but that went through the x-ray like everything else. They also made sure to wipe my hands to check for explosive residue (or whatever else they want to make sure you didn’t touch). Good thing Missy’s an easy-going cat or I don’t know what sort of insanity might have ensued. If it were Molly, she’d be so upset I’m sure I would have gotten injured and she likely would have escaped. If it were Smokey, she’d probably be scared out of her wits and run off to hide. I zipped Missy back into the carrier, gathered our things, and headed to the gate. Once we got there I wanted to do something about the smell coming from her carrier.

cat in carrier by sink with mat being washedI left Panda with our stuff and took Missy to a restroom, where I washed the sherpa mat that sits at the bottom of the carrier. I could see a large stain at the bottom, so the whole thing needed to be rinsed. After washing it with soap and wringing it dry as best I could, I went to all the restrooms I could find to see if there was a hand dryer. Unfortunately, they all relied on paper towels and I didn’t want to waste any more of those (I’d used many sheets trying to pat the lining dry). Back at the gate, I asked Panda to see if the men’s restrooms might have a dryer and he eventually came back with just a slightly dripping wet mat that he’d put through a Dyson Airblade. He got two stacks of paper towels, one to put underneath the sherpa and one to put on top. The nice thing about that material is that even though the bottom was still quite wet, the fluffy top part was practically dry so it was actually pretty comfortable for Missy to use again.

cat face through mesh web of carrier cat sitting in carrier for plane ride united in-cabin pet ticket receipt

cat face peeking out of carrier on plane

Peekaboo!

I’m pretty sure that Missy managed to pee once more at some point after that, but oh well. The smell wasn’t too strong and I really could only tell when I had my nose right up to the carrier. Soon, we boarded the plane and held her carrier on my lap until we were pushing back from the gate. When I went to put her under the seat in front of me, I discovered that there are these annoying plastic boxes that take up a good 2-3 inches, so there was no way the carrier could fit length-wise. I had to put it parallel to my legs, with only the back half under the seat. The seat was also so low it was pushing down the walls of the carrier. I think because we were in Economy Plus, they gave less foot room there because there’s more leg room (most people wouldn’t notice that part so long as their knees aren’t squished).

cat sleeping snugly on lap of person on planeThroughout the ride, I kept leaning over to check in on Missy. I let her head pop out a few times and I pet and scratched her to make sure she got attention. After the beverage service, I left a little water at the bottom of my cup and tried to give it to her, but she wasn’t interested. Later in the trip, she kept trying to break out, so I let her crawl on my lap for a little bit. She was shivering like crazy, whether cold or stressed or both. I then delivered her back to her carrier for the remainder of the trip and checked in on her when we landed. A couple of times she meowed super loud, but the people around me didn’t seem to notice or care. Overall she was great though, and patiently sat in the carrier without a peep.

 

cat exiting carrier after plane ride

Yay, home!

So based on what I’ve learned, here are some tips:

Make sure you buy your pet ticket ahead of time and ask the attendant at the check-in counter to print the receipt for you (keep it handy, they’ll want to see it when you board).

Get a travel-approved pet carrier (soft sides, appropriate size, sturdy – and that sherpa lining on the bottom can be quite useful!).

Book a window seat so you can place the carrier on the ground without bothering other passengers and blocking their way out of their seat.

Either make sure your pet goes to the bathroom the morning of the trip (if possible) or try to use a plastic hard carrier for the first leg of the trip so accidents are easier to clean. Of course if you can’t leave the carrier with whoever’s driving you or you don’t have free checked luggage, you might just have to deal with a dirty carrier.

Try to bring a blanket to help cover the sides of the carrier if it’s going to be cold or you don’t want your pet stressed by everything outside.

Prepare some plastic bags if you need to clean up poop and bring old towels you can swap out in the carrier.

Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and smelly. Use a jacket that is a tougher material if your pet has claws and might try to kick you with them (that way it doesn’t hurt and it’s easier to wrangle her back to the carrier after security).

 

Have you traveled with a pet before? What would you recommend for air travel, especially for cats?

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