Posts Tagged ‘travel’

He’s a keeper

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , , ,
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rows of empty seats on plane as first people start boarding and flight attendant waits near back

I enjoy getting priority boarding using his status. Peace on the plane as I settle in!

When Panda and I were flying down to Orlando for a vacation last year, he got an upgrade to first class, which he gave to me. I was sitting there next to a really nice lady who was going down for a meeting with Disney about those new smart bands that you get as your pass (her company makes them). As we chatted and I mentioned that my fiance had given me his upgrade, she commented that “he’s a keeper for sure!” And indeed he is.

tray of hot breakfast offered in first class of united flights

I enjoyed some breakfast on the flight.

With this most recent flight, he got an upgrade again and they were one seat short of upgrading me along with him. As usual, I got to take the seat up front and enjoy the meal service, snacks, and drinks. I’m pretty spoiled by him in general and this is just one of the many ways he pampers me. I love that he never hesitates to share these kinds of things with me. If we don’t get an upgraded seat, I get my beloved window and he’ll accompany me in the middle seat even though he prefers the aisle. At home, he takes care of pretty much all the chores (though I’m convinced that much of that is due to his need to clean more frequently than I – he ends up doing things before I think they need to be done). When we go out, I rarely need to bring anything other than my phone; he’ll take care of the driving and the payments and whatnot.

Even when it comes to things like my personal choices and life changes, he is strongly supportive. When I decided to go try out a job opportunity in Singapore just six months into our relationship, we found a way to stay connected through email and Skype. When I was interning, looking for a job, and then going to work after returning stateside, he opened his apartment to me. When he left to work on the east coast, he (mostly) indulged my newly-implemented 20-minute rule: every night before sleeping he had to announce he was getting ready and then spend the next 20 minutes – minimum – talking to me, no distractions. When I decided to quit my job, he understood my need to strike out on my own.

Most recently, he was the one who encouraged me to keep my name when we get married. I had been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to preserve my current identity yet meld it with his family’s (and no hyphenated names, thank you very much). I thought I shouldn’t shun all traditions, right? But then again, Chinese tradition involves no change of name either, so perhaps we are observing tradition, in a way. 😛 We’ve been together for about 6 years now and I’m so excited to call him husband soon!

plane seat decorated with blue stars and gifts for make a wish kid heading to los angeles

Mostly unrelated, but I wanted to share this from our flight… a special passenger was on our flight – a Make A Wish kid!

Escape Monthly July: India Box Review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2

Tempted as I was to get the bonus box with even more goodies from India, I didn’t want to spend any more money. I’m certainly pleased with this box, which felt pretty authentic and got the seal of approval from one of my Indian friends for products that she’d enjoy. If you sprang for the luxe box that was offered for India, do let me know when you review it! I’d love to see what else they found.

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. Each box comes with a Moon Handbooks guide for that region. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a lovely recurring referral commission program.

escape monthly july india box products showing escape monthly july india box info card against blue and white chevron background escape monthly july india box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

This box even smelled of Indian influences. Must be the sandalwood.

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to Taj Mahal Delhi & Jaipur– I’ve never been to India, so when I get a chance, this will certainly be very useful. I’ve got to admit, I’ve never been super attracted to going there because of the heat I imagine in the region. I just see myself being beaten by the sun the whole time, trudging along. Is India really as hot as I think? I’ll have to see…

Saffron Road Korma simmer sauce – I got this brand before, but a different sauce flavor, so I’m looking forward to trying both. My info sheet talks about the Tikka Masala flavor, which I actually have. My box came with the korma instead, which is completely new to me. My friend tells me it’s fabulous though. This will be an easy way to cook some meat with tons of flavor!

Pure Indian Foods organic ghee – I’ve never heard of ghee before, but it smells so rich! Just like caramel or toffee. I don’t usually cook with butter, so I’ll have to find some recipes that call for it and try this fun product that’s apparently quite healthy for you.

Nemat International Amber & Sandalwood fragrances – This small tube of sandalwood packs a punch! It totally reminds me of Asia and even kind of makes me think of my grandmother. I love getting a whiff of that. The amber scent is so light that I can hardly smell a thing. They recommend meditating with it, which I totally need to try.

Banyan Botanicals Organic Healthy Hair Oil – Hmm, I’m totally reminded of food when I smell this oil. Kind of strange, but not a big deal! It’s a really nice oil that isn’t all greasy feeling and I’m hoping it not only makes my hair appear healthier, but promotes hair growth. I would like to try growing out my hair, but I always get impatient when it’s a couple inches past my shoulder because it gets dry.

Banyan Botanicals Peppermint soap – Ooo, this peppermint soap is the perfect thing to refresh and cool down your body with. I loved inhaling the minty scent and I know that it’ll tingle a little when I use it. I’m very sensitive to the cooling sensation of mint. Just what I like to think of on hot, muggy days.

Masala Pop Chai Masala popcorn – Whoa, what a unique taste. I like that this popcorn has a nice strong flavor yet it’s not too sweet. A popcorn made with tea? So cool. While I’m still not big into popcorn, this one is a lovely change from the usual kettle corn you might find.

Maya Kaimal Kashmiri Curry – Another great sauce to try! Now cooking can be as easy as chopping up some meat and veggies and pouring in this sauce. I like that it’s tomato-based and I’m very curious how the whole nutmeg flavor plays in. I totally have to saute some eggplant and try it with this. I’m inspired to get back to home-cooked meals more often.

Gouri Puja bindis – What gorgeous little bindis! I am coordinating with my coworker to come in with bindis together one of these days. They’re so fun and beautiful and the perfect bonus item in the box this month. Love it!

This was truly a box where I felt like I escaped to India and learned about the country. I’m into everything offered too! How do you like this India Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): INDIAESCAPE or PARISESCAPE for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

Next month in August, we’re going to Paris!!! I can’t wait for that, since I’ve had an unofficial love affair with France since middle school.

escape monthly july india box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of paris

[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!]

4th of July Pittsburgh

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1

Last weekend, for the 4th of July, Panda and I went on our little vacation to Pittsburgh. He chose that city because we were looking for something within a 4-5 hour drive, didn’t want to do NYC again, and wanted to try a new city. I might have gone there once upon a time, but I don’t have a memory of it, so it’d pretty much be like going there for the first time anyway. We also planned for quite awhile to prepare Smokey for the trip, since he was able to book a hotel that allowed pets for free. It was a nice, quick getaway and there was a ton going on in Pittsburgh that weekend.

We started driving at night, avoiding all toll roads.

We started driving at night, avoiding all toll roads.

On the 4th, we went to join in the regatta festivities.

On the 4th, we went to join in the regatta festivities.

We walked across the bridge to get to the Carnegie Science Center.

We walked across the bridge to get to the Carnegie Science Center.

Pretty flowers!

Pretty flowers!

Outside the science center, we entered the Brain Maze.

Outside the science center, we entered the Brain Maze.

Do I weigh enough? Yes!

Do I weigh enough? Yes!

I had to put on a shirt since my shoulders weren't covered. Also had to tie back my hair.

I had to put on a shirt since my shoulders weren’t covered. Also had to tie back my hair.

The zero gravity machine letting me hang. I did all the tasks almost twice over! Total astronaut material here.

The zero gravity machine letting me hang. I did all the tasks almost twice over! Total astronaut material here.

Going through the stinky submarine. I could hardly breathe.

Going through the stinky submarine. I could hardly breathe.

I wanted to be served by a robot and get a commemorative cup, so we got some froyo.

I wanted to be served by a robot and get a commemorative cup, so we got some froyo.

The world through my heart sunglasses.

The world through my heart sunglasses.

The first time, we didn't have cash so we had to go hunting for change! Then it was up the incline.

The first time, we didn’t have cash so we had to go hunting for change! Then it was up the incline.

What a fantastic view.

What a fantastic view.

Up on this steep hill.

Up on this steep hill.

Looking down, it's a ton of greenery.

Looking down, it’s a ton of greenery.

On our trip back down the incline, we pass over the road with cars driving under.

On our trip back down the incline, we pass over the road with cars driving under.

The journey we made.

The journey we made.

Hey, we were up on the tiny round platform earlier!

Hey, we were up on the tiny round platform earlier!

Yelp helped us find this dinner spot.

Yelp helped us find this dinner spot.

Yum, cornbread and fried pickles!

Yum, cornbread and fried pickles!

How cute, the pizza has flavoring sides.

How cute, the pizza has flavoring sides.

Final morning and I take advantage of the Texas waffle iron.

Final morning and I take advantage of the Texas waffle iron.

Alright! Texas waffle. :)

Alright! Texas waffle. 🙂

On the drive back, I discovered some slippers I might want to get.

On the drive back, I discovered some slippers I might want to get.

Traveling with a kitty

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , ,
1

For the long weekend, Panda and I planned a little trip to Pittsburgh awhile back. Panda got it into his head that we’d bring Smokey along and it’d be a grand adventure, but as we started to train her for the car ride, I became concerned that she would freak out too much. However, it turned out far better than I expected and while I wouldn’t say Smokey is looking forward to another trip, she did seem to have moments of almost enjoying herself. She certainly did acclimate to the new hotel room very quickly, but the whole moving vehicle thing still makes her antsy.

I’m so proud of how she did! We made it home with no issues and boy has she been living it up. I’ve never seen her sleep so well. Well, it was quite the eventful day for her, so she’s pooped. I checked in on her earlier to find her sprawled out along my windowsill and she didn’t even lift her head up when I turned on the light in the room. Here’s a look at how taking our cat in the car for a road trip went:

On our night drive out of town, she found a few favs including this spot.

On our night drive out of town, she found a few favs including this spot.

Upon arriving at the hotel, she decided this was the optimal perch.

Upon arriving at the hotel, she decided this was the optimal perch.

The next morning she chilled in her new spot.

The next morning she chilled in her new spot.

We came home to find her staring out the window and eventually coaxed her to bed.

We came home to find her staring out the window and eventually coaxed her to bed.

This morning, noises outside made her suspicious.

This morning, noises outside made her suspicious.

Got a quick break of playing in before hitting the road.

Got a quick break of playing in before hitting the road.

She loved perching on top of the carrier.

She loved perching on top of the carrier.

Just trying to get some shut eye.

Just trying to get some shut eye.

A few times, she'd get overwhelmed and pant.

A few times, she’d get overwhelmed and pant.

She really loved having her paws on the center console and her feet on the back seat... leaving her belly to hang.

She really loved having her paws on the center console and her feet on the back seat… leaving her belly to hang.

Making sure this driving thing is working right.

Making sure this driving thing is working right.

"Is it over yet?"

“Is it over yet?”

Gathering herself for some zen moments.

Gathering herself for some zen moments.

Nauseous or sleepy?

Nauseous or sleepy?

Hanging on for dear life, lol.

Hanging on for dear life, lol.

Home! I see home!!

Home! I see home!!

Travel pains

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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It’s 8:58 and my 8:50 flight still says departing on time. Obviously, something’s going on here. The day started off normally, with my mom and I heading off to LAX just past 5:30 am. We arrived an hour and a half later, plenty of time for me to check a bag (I decided I couldn’t be without my precious skateboard all summer so I sprang for the $25 checked baggage option).

I got through security and made it to my gate, noticing that my flight was one of the few delayed. It still gave me 35 minutes to get to my connection in Raleigh, which seemed fine. As the minutes ticked on and we got delayed with little buffer time left, I got anxious, but then we were on our way. On the flight, I suddenly realized I didn’t have my boarding pass for the next leg of the flight. Oops!

5 pm came and went as I wondered when we’d land. The captain came on to tell us that we were stuck in a holding pattern while we waited for a storm to move through. Luckily, that only lasted a few minutes and we were cleared to descend. I think we arrived around 5:40 and the instant we taxied off the runway, I turned on my phone to get my boarding pass. Thankfully, the gate I was going to was very close to the one I was arriving from and that next flight was delayed a bit too.

I had time for a restroom break and even enjoyed a free cupcake from a celebration of RDU flying to London for 20 years now on American Airlines. We boarded our flight, I settled in, and I was ready to be on our way.

Then it came.

A pop-up notification on my phone said my flight was cancelled. How could that be? We were boarded and so close to closing the door!! Alas, not two minutes later, as I was hoping it was a fluke, the captain came on to tell us the news. We all filed off and got in line to be rerouted. A few people got put on a 7:30 flight, but I was pushed to the 8:50 one. I thought about trying to get it changed, but I figured the earlier one might get cancelled.

I wandered round to get some food and settled in to wait. Lo and behold, the 7:30 one first got delayed, then cancelled. I kept checking the status of my flight, which remained “On Time” – whew! But as 8:50 crawled nearer, nothing happened. And the captain went to check, disappearing down some rabbit hole.

[It’s now 12:40 and I’m waiting for my SuperShuttle ride home.]

Finally, not long after 9 we started to board! Everything went quite smoothly as we sat down and started the safety presentation. Oh, but little did we know what as in store for us now. Air traffic control wouldn’t let our plane up in the air for at least half an hour! So we sat there waiting with some other planes as the captain updated us that the delays continued. The flight attendant came around with water and snacks.

Eventually, the captain decided to turn off the engines to conserve power. Of course, just a few minutes later he was given the all clear so we revved back up and got up in the air within 5 minutes. I took the chance to take a nap and woke up just before descent. I’d totally forgotten I was going into DCA, so I eagerly tried to recognize the buildings below me until I realized this was not IAD.

As if the day wasn’t long enough as is, we had to wait for our gate for ages… I mean, my stomach was starting to hurt at this point from the exhaustion and stress and impatience. We all rushed to baggage claim and I was glad that went by pretty quickly. The SuperShuttle check in was right there and now we’ll see how packed mine is. Will I make it home by 2? How did one domestic trip become a 17-18 hour ordeal? Storms are no fun when I’m trying to travel, that’s for sure.

I must say I’d rather wait at the airport for a delay than get airborne and sent to land somewhere else or have to endure a shaky landing. Once the winds were so high that I was nauseous from the approach to landing and you could tell the pilot was struggling against the gusts.

So it’s 3 am and I just got home. Long story not even done being told, but I need rest! My tummy hurts bad.

Easter holiday

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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For the first time in my life, I got Good Friday and Earth Day off (what a fabulously quirky company I work at) so Panda and I planned a little vacation for this weekend. I took Monday off so I’d have 5 days and his schedule is so odd with his travel that I’m not sure if he had to take any days off. Since he got solicited to sit in a timeshare presentation awhile back, we decided to schedule that for this little Easter break we’d be getting. The location we’d chosen was Myrtle Beach, because it’s about as far as we can drive in a reasonable time and we’d enjoyed it the first time we went. The timeshare offer was only for 2 nights, so we planned to spend a night in Charleston to explore a new place while we were at it.

As it turns out, he couldn’t make it back until the night of the first day of our trip (when we were supposed to be in Charleston), so we headed out in the middle of the night. He flew in at 5 pm, took care of some business, and we napped until midnight or so. We then crawled up and made sure Smokey had enough food and water laid out. I scooped her litter one last time to ensure the freshest box possible and we were off at 1 in the morning. We talked along the drive for the first two hours as it rained all through the night. I started to get tired between 3 and 4 and finally decided to sleep. I kept waking up paranoid that Panda would be too tired to drive, so I always asked him how he was doing before crashing again. We made a pit stop at a Chick-fil-a right as it was opening at 6:30 and I felt much better after eating. As it was getting brighter, I woke up again and finally felt somewhat refreshed. I offered to drive and took over for the last hour and something that it took for us to reach our first destination: Middleton Place.

green tree-lined road with little sky showing

As, such wonderful greenery!

panorama of middleton place near charleston south carolina

Welcome to Middleton Place!

small section of green rice paddy at middleton place

They have a mini rice paddy to give you a sense of what it’s like.

alligator laying on grass of bank and head of other alligator peeking out of water

Alligators were just chillin’! Can you spot the one in the water?

kneeling in front of giant bush of white and pink flowers

They usually have tons of flowers, but most didn’t survive the storm from the previous night.

crowd of kids and parents gearing up for easter egg hunt at middleton place

They were hosting multiple Easter egg hunts for kids that morning.

giant stork walking on path at middleton place

That stork calmly walked around like it owned the place.

brown water buffalo standing by water looking up

Was this water buffalo gazing up at the sky?

brown goat sitting on tree stump

When I first saw this goat, I thought it might be fake.

family of black momma pig and three baby piglets

Momma pig had some babies!

black piglet sniffing person's hand

This piglet was so hungry it tried to eat my finger.

brown and white water buffalo pair drinking water and staring

Getting stared down by the water buffalo.

brown and white water buffalo pair nuzzling

Aww look at them nuzzling.

group of different fowl including chickens, roosters, and geese

Such a pretty variety of birds on the farm.

petting farm cat walking on picnic table

Farm cats are always so bold.

giant white rabbit in cage with brown one behind it

Bunny rabbits for Easter! And check out my speckled egg nails. 🙂

peacock walking around farm near people

Peacocks just roamed around.

male peacock grooming feathers

A lady thought that this peacock grooming would actually spread his tail out.

male peacock with feathers spread out to groom himself

Such brilliant colors. Too bad this guy had no competition on the farm to give him a reason to show us his plumage.

white tents at middleton place for wedding

We were asked if we were the couple getting married here today. Do I look dressed for a wedding?! 😛

giant oak tree on middleton place property

A very large oak with plenty of character, even after some major branches fell.

pair of swans sitting in water by edge eating grass

As we headed out, we tracked down the swans.

two 2-piece meals of fried chicken with sides at bojangles

For lunch, we had Bojangles. We still prefer Popeye’s.

black and white bird flying in for piece of bread on ground

When I saw birds, I happily busted out the old bread I brought to feed animals on the trip.

parking lot in midst of trees with no paved roads or painted lines

The parking lots for the plantations were basically part of the forest.

charleston tea plantation america's only tea garden

The only place in America you’ll find them growing, harvesting, and making tea! Bigelow owns this one.

fields of tea plants and giant machine for harvesting tea leaves

Fields and fields of tea bushes that just look like a regular plant.

close-up of tea leaves of camellia sinensis bush

This my friends, is what you start with when you want a nice cup of tea.

horse-drawn cart with tour of charleston

Time to swing by downtown Charleston! Of course the first thing we see is a horse-drawn tour.

fragrance room at colonial candle store in charleston

At Colonial Candle, they had Fragrance Rooms where you could experience a candle.

fried green tomatoes atop bed of corn covered with cheese and sweet and sour sauce

For dinner, I tried fried green tomatoes for the first time. YUM

view of myrtle beach area inland from patricia grand hotel 16th floor

We arrive in Myrtle Beach and get a room at the Patricia Grand.

shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, hush puppies, and she crab soup at mr. fish

Lunch the next day consisted of all sorts of creamy options.

sea salt scrub made by fishermen in restroom of mr. fish restaurant

In the restroom they had a fabulous salt scrub that I almost wanted to buy.

store of all purple things at broadway at the beach in myrtle beach

Out to the Barefoot Landing area and I had to check out the Purpleologist.

wall of racks and racks of globe candles with many designs

Walking by another store, I saw someone making candles so I went in.

round candle with starfish and lionfish design

I loved the intricate look to them!

lady holdking candle while carving into it

I wanted a UCLA one, so the lady made it on the spot.

blue and yellow ucla globe candle hand carved

Check out that beauty! The yellow part will glow when I light it.

The final morning, I woke up just as the sun was rising.

The final morning, I woke up just as the sun was rising.

people down on beach and chairs with tents laid out

By the time we headed out, people were roaming the beach. I had no idea those crescent things became wind-blocking tent things!

flipped car on side of road

Along the drive home, we happened upon quite the accident. Yikes!

Just enough exercise

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , ,
0

Sometimes people do the silliest things. When I was at the airport a few weeks back, I noticed this guy putting his suitcase on the escalator, then rushing down the stairs to meet it at the bottom. Apparently taking the suitcase down the stairs was too much exercise for him and taking the escalator himself was too little exercise (or something like that).

suitcase on escalator from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Escape Monthly March: Ireland Box Review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
0

Ok, so the March Escape Monthly box had no sheep, but I still loved it. It was very much food focused, which is perfect for me because I can always use more snacks. We eat far more than we use other products, so this helps prevent an overstock of items. I’m sure Panda will be happy about that. 😛

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. Each box comes with a Moon Handbooks guide for that region. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a lovely recurring referral commission program.

escape monthly march ireland box products showing escape monthly march ireland box info card against blue and white chevron background escape monthly march ireland box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

Of course, who doesn’t think of green when you think of Ireland (particularly around St. Paddy’s Day?). I was actually surprised at how much green all the products have, giving it a very strong theme feel. I so wish I would have won this vacation… alas, hopefully I’ll win one eventually!

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to Living Abroad in Ireland – What a wonderful guide to have for any American looking to spend extended time in this beautiful country. I’ll certainly be keeping it handy for when Panda and I get a chance to go visit. And hey, maybe we’ll even be lucky enough to live there for awhile.

Human+Kind Family Remedy Cream – The fun packaging already sets the right tone. Then when I saw it’s all-natural and made in Ireland, this immediately got more bonus points. This cream is meant for all kinds of skin conditions, ranging from burns and scars to stings and sores. You can even use it for brittle nails! It has a cooling, herbal sort of scent that includes tea tree oil. I certainly feels soothing, but I’m going to have to use it more to see if it actually does anything to reduce irritation.

O’Neills Shamrock Shortbread – Mmm, what rich and buttery shortbread! I love the crunchiness and the sweet aroma. The shamrock shapes are large so there are only four cookies in the box, but each one makes a sufficient snack. This makes for a fantastic bit of Ireland that is just wonderful.

Butlers Mint Truffle – It says milk chocolate truffle on the card, but I actually got the dark chocolate mint. It’s a dark chocolate shell with a soft truffle center and little bits of crispy mint pieces. Yum! Certainly a very luxurious treat that tastes fabulous. Wow – it’s like a super fancy mint patty. I don’t usually even like mint chocolate!

Bewley Gift of the Gab tea – I can smell a strong tea through the plastic baggie inside. I haven’t yet brewed this, but it’s definitely the kind of tea I’d drink on an afternoon as a pick-me-up. If I was a breakfast person, it’d be a fabulous substitute for morning tea. Seems like it’s similar to Earl Grey.

Bewley’s Ground Irish Creme Coffee – Well, I don’t drink coffee so this is all Panda’s. I find it quite unique that the coffee grinds came in a can! I half expected them to be soaking in some creme or something. I’m sure Panda will like having a pot of this coffee – maybe we’ll even wait until his brother’s back so they can enjoy it together.

Hogan’s Brown Irish Soda Bread Mix – I’ve heard of soda bread, but I have no idea what it is exactly. I’m not even sure I’ve ever tried it, but it looks wonderful. As a huge fan of bread, I’m sure this will be much enjoyed (if I can make it well enough). I look forward to trying my baking with this product.

Auld Sod Shamrock Seeds – The bonus product is just precious. Shamrock seeds?! I love it and I can’t wait to get a little pot to plant them in. As soon as the plague of winter weather leaves us for good this year, I’m going to plant these! Think I’ll get any four-leaf ones? 🙂

I thoroughly enjoyed the items in this box. I actually discovered that there are variations and I’m quite happy with mine. The other type I saw had marmalade, soap, and a seaweed bath instead of the guide book, tea, and truffle chocolate. I already have the seaweed bath, own way too many soaps, and probably wouldn’t get around to opening a jar of marmalade for ages. What do you like most in the Ireland Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): MEXICOESCAPE or YOURESCAPE for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

Next up is Mexico next month! How wonderful that we’re getting another international theme. I love it! I expect some wonderfully bright colors and festive flavors.

escape monthly march ireland box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of mexico

[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!]

Flight fear

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,
0

The past two days have been a bit of insanity, sometimes even bordering harrowing. My travels started Tuesday around 3 am EST (3 pm in China). I got to the Beijing Airport for my flight at 5:30 and arrived in Chicago about 13 hours later. Along the way, I experienced possibly the worst bout of turbulence that I’ve ever been through. The shaking of it made me run through scenarios: the plane wing breaking off (could the pilot still keep us somewhat upright?), falling from the sky (how should I brace for impact?), surviving the crash and attempting to stay warm and alive on the ground (how many layers of clothes could I put on?)… yeah, I’m a little freaked out from the Malaysia missing aircraft mystery and thinking of all kinds of awful possibilities.

view over arctic landscape from plane window

Somewhere over the arctic regions we got hit by some major turbulence.

In Chicago, I waited three hours to board the plane to Dulles and made it back slightly nauseous, but ok. We went home for a brief break and I slept three hours before crawling up just before 5 am to go back to IAD. This time I took a flight back to O’Hare to transfer to Louisville. We landed in some pretty fresh snow powder and then I watched as my 9:30 CST flight got delayed to 10:45, then 12, then 12:15, then 12:30, then 12:45…

plane landing on snow from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

And as I waited, nearly all the flights turned to delayed or cancelled. I got in touch with the partners I was going to visit and then sat back, hoping I’d still make it out in time. I finally got to Louisville at 3:30, checked out my rental car, and made it to the office at 4. I had booked a flight out at 5, but when I arrived I saw it’d been delayed until 6, so that gave me some time. I met with a few people before hightailing it back at 5. I returned the car and asked about my flight, which was going to Cleveland (now at 6:20). The delay would cause me to miss my connection, but luckily for me, an afternoon flight straight to Dulles was delayed by 4 hours and scheduled to leave at 7. I went to wait for that flight and made it back to Northern Virginia by 9:30.

fluffy cloud coverage with pastel colors in sky

Getting up in the sky, things were beautiful.

vibrant colors of fading sunset over cloud coverage

The sun set and we continued in the darkness.

Our approach to the runway turned out to be one of the most nerve-wracking 25 minutes of my life. We made a giant loop around the airport as we slowly came down, tilting left and right, shaking a bit, and making me feel like I’d developed motion sickness. I actually had to grip the hand rest to steady myself a bit and feel more secure in my seat. Once again, I thought about ways to survive falling out of the sky. I even imagined crash landing on the freeway or breaking our fall in a forest. I did not feel well! It was quite the series of flights giving me plenty of scares. I usually feel really secure on a plane, but this time around I was nervous leg after leg. I’m ready to stay grounded for awhile.

fractured light on scratched up window of plane

Finally on the ground, the sparkles of lights got fractured by the scratches on the window. Rather pretty.

365great Day 363: living abroad

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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365great day 363: living abroadWhether working, studying, or just plain living abroad, it’s the type of experience I think everyone should try at least once. I’ve done them all, like visiting family in China for summer break (and going to school for that year when I was 9), doing an exchange program in England, and working overseas in Singapore. This was from my last night in Singapore, as I packed up my desk and bid farewell to my coworkers. It had been quite an immersion into their culture, completely unlike anything I was used to yet familiar in many areas. It’s amazing what you learn in a few weeks of entering a different society. It’s easy to stay closed-mind in a bubble if you never leave your home country, but normal travel doesn’t quite change you the way living abroad does (even if it’s only for a few months). I really value all of my time abroad in the various capacities that I was there for. Spending extended time in any other country opens your eyes to other ways to view the world and it’s a great learning opportunity for all.

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