Planning Our Summer Trip
When Mario and I began planning our summer trip to Oregon, we had to figure out what we were going to do with Rosie. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen glimpses of Rosie on my timeline and stories. For those who haven’t (virtually) met our sweet girl, we adopted her in January from an animal shelter when she was two months old. We aren’t totally sure of her mix, but think she may be part Chihuahua, Pug, and perhaps another very athletic, hunting breed based on her looks and personality.
Weighing Our Options
For us, boarding her at a facility wasn’t much of an option because most places require your pet to get the dog influenza vaccine, and that’s something we aren’t in favor of. Rosie does have all her necessary puppy vaccines; however, we do not want to add anything into her system that isn’t absolutely required. In addition, boarding a pet can quickly become expensive and we wanted to pursue options that were more affordable. Therefore, we had two other choices. We could have a friend watch her, or bring her with us. After weighing our options, we ultimately decided that bringing her on our vacation would be best.
About a month before our trip we found a tick on Rosie and immediately got it removed at the vet. We believe she had it for about 6 days after we went hiking in Oakland for Mario's birthday. At this time she was due for another round of flea and tick medication and we administered an oral pill shortly after we left the vet. It did not sit well with her and made her sick for over two weeks. It was really scary because she is still a puppy and everything I read online said if she was vomiting for too long she could literally die. We switched her diet to boiled chicken breast, rice, and canned pumpkin for the next several weeks to settle her stomach. Thankfully, she finally got better a few days before we left. Given the circumstances, we weren’t quite ready to leave her in the hands of someone else for 6 days and we also wanted to experience Oregon with our pup who loves running and hiking.
As new puppy parents, we were a bit nervous about bringing her on the flight because we weren’t totally sure what to expect. I wanted to share our experience, what worked best, and what we would change for future trips for those in a similar situation. I have broken down the main points into a series of five steps. My story and tips are based on information for a small pet that can fit under the seat during the flight and doesn't include information for larger dogs or international flights.
Step 1: Look Up Measurements for Carrier
Every airline has different seat measurements. Some pet carriers may label themselves “Approved for most major airlines*,” but ultimately you need to check what your specific airline requires. For our flight, the required measurements were said to be a maximum of 18.5” long x 8.5” high x 13.5” wide. I was able to find this information by searching the keywords "[Insert Airline Name] pets" online.
Step 2: "Try On" the Carrier
With the required measurements in mind, Mario and I were finally ready to start shopping for the pet carrier. We went to a local pet store and had Rosie “try on” several of the pet carriers. At the time she weighed about 18 pounds. Our puppy has very long legs and she needed a size large which measured at 19” long x 11.75”high x 11.5”wide (AKA technically too large according to the airline's website) and carried up to 22 pounds. We were nervous we were going to get turned away if the carrier was too large to fit under the seat. We purchased the large anyway, but we were low-key freaking out because we didn't have a backup plan if the carrier didn't work.
Step 3: Reserve Pet's "Spot" on the Flight
When you travel with a pet it is recommended to reserve their “spot” on the airplane so I called the day before to do so. Some airlines require a reservation and others are lenient and allow you to purchase a boarding pass the day of without a reservation. Boarding passes for pets are typically a fixed rate. In this instance it costed, $95.00 USD each way. The airline we chose was lenient, but I wanted to be safe because there are a limited number of pets allowed aboard each flight. It was fairly easy and the lady simply asked me a few questions before confirming the reservation. She asked if Rosie was a pet or service animal and what kind of carrier we had. I said we chose a soft carrier and she said that was good in case it was slightly too large we could just fold it down under the seat which brought my mind to ease since our carrier was a few inches larger than their website said would be allowed.
Step 4: Train Pet to Become Comfortable with Carrier
The most important thing to do once you get a pet carrier is to train your pet to be comfortable in it, especially if they have never been in one before. Just like walking on the leash or taking a bath, using the carrier will not necessarily be easy or enjoyable for your pet right away, unless they learn to associate it with something positive. Luckily, Rosie grew fond of her carrier quickly. She has a car seat already so we think that is part of the reason, but we also began training her the moment we got it in the mail. We encouraged her to explore by hiding treats inside and turned the training into a hide-and-seek game. Within a few days she was hiding her toys and taking naps in it. We left the seat out for about two weeks so she could use it whenever she felt so inclined. By the time our trip came around she was familiar with how the carrier felt and knew that it was her safe haven.
Step 5: What to Bring on the Flight
Although our flight was short, we brought plenty of treats and a couple of toys on board so that she would be comfortable and distracted. We also brought a small blanket to use as a pillow and extra cushion. The carrier does have a Sherpa lining, however the bottom is very firm. My friend Stephanie who travels with her cat often recommended putting a potty pad on the bottom of the carrier in case she had an accident. The last item I recommend packing is proof of vaccines. We were not asked to show these documents, however I do feel these are important to have handy in case there are any issues.
Notes for Next Time
Overall, I feel we prepared pretty well for our trip, but there are two things I would do differently next time. The first is, not stress as much. We were super stressed about the size of the carrier, but it all went very smoothly. Since we already made a reservation for Rosie, all we had to do was purchase her boarding pass. The carrier fit well under the seat and the they did not weigh or measure her carrier at any point. The second thing I would do differently is to use the potty pad inside the pet relief area. Rosie was not fond of the pet relief area, so next time I would take out a potty pad and lay it on the floor of the room, to see if it makes her more comfortable.
The exact name of the carrier we purchased is the Sherpa Original Deluxe Large. I have included this one, in addition to other styles and products I recommend for your trip on Amaon. If you purchase an item through these links, I do receive a small commission. I hope this blog post helps you and your fur baby prepare for future travels. #ad #sponsored
Our First Official Day: Recap
Thanks for joining me for my second New York travel diary! In part 1, I discussed our first full day in the Big Apple. We went to the Brooklyn Bridge, had some trendy toast, and went shopping! In case you missed it, click here to view the first entry from this series. I would like to note that no part of this blog post is sponsored. In this post I provide direct links to items I purchased and places I visited because I really enjoyed them and felt you might too!
After the Brooklyn Bridge, we walked over to Washington Street to snap some quick shots, and then made our way to Brooklyn Industries. The boutique carries a few different brands that I recognized such as BB Dakota, in addition to their own label. I noticed a sign in the front of their store that mentioned they began transferring their graphic t-shirts to organic cotton in 2015. After reading their statement, I got really excited because I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called “The True Cost” which discussed the importance of using organic cotton.
Organic cotton is important for growers and consumers. Think about it... Growing cotton involves real life farmers. If these people are constantly surrounded by chemicals they are much more likely to end up with diseases like cancer. In addition, those who live in the surrounding areas are affected as well because the chemicals contaminate the air and water. Then, those chemicals get passed down to customers upon wearing and purchasing. I do my best to preserve Mother Earth, and to make conscientious decisions regarding my health, so I appreciate this sentiment.
From the start, I didn’t plan on doing much shopping in New York, but I did know that I wanted a new sweater- specifically a chunky-white-turtleneck. I tried on a bunch of cozy pieces and graphic tees, then decided on this Nylon, Acrylic, and Wool blend because it was exactly what I had in mind! I tend to stay away from care labels that state “dry clean only” but it was so warm! It was 10-20 degrees during our entire trip and I knew I could get some good use out of it. My California wardrobe was definitely not sufficient for the frigid temperatures. The cozy turtleneck is still available on their website for $88.00 USD and is called the Avery Mockneck Sweater.
I bought this beanie in San Francisco a few years ago and brought it along for our trip. Mainly because I knew I needed layers, but also because I was confident I would find the cream sweater of my dreams during our trip (I was planning this very strategically). Lo and behold, the beanie matched my new knit perfectly. I wore this outfit the next day for our journey to the Empire State Building.
We viewed snowy city 86 stories high on the Main Deck. After, we were starving and decided to find somewhere yummy to eat. On our way to hunt for a restaurant, we stumbled upon a hat store called JJ's Hat Center where Mario found a leather newsboy cap with ear flaps (the style name is Statson and it is available on their website for $125. After shopping at the hat store, we found a Peruvian restaurant called Raymi NYC that had some delicious vegetarian options and courteous customer service. After lunch, we made our way to Madison Square Park near the Flat Iron Building to shoot some winter wonderland vibes.
The Shoes that Saved My Life
I wore these Sperry's Salt Water Duck Boots for the majority of the trip. I highly recommend them! They were good for the snow (and can work in the rain too) because they have good insulation and rubber bottoms. In addition, I had enough room to wear three layers of socks and stockings, and they were still comfortable enough to walk in the city for hours in freezing temperatures.
Until Next Time...
I hope you enjoyed reading about our second day in New York, and that you are able to visit some of the same places I mentioned if you haven't already! Looking forward to starting Part 3 of this series now, which will be about New Year's Eve! We took some epic rooftop shots at our AirBnb before we went out dancing, and almost literally got hypothermia.
First Off- It's Been a While.
It’s been 5 long months since I last published a blog post and I’ve missed it so much! Last semester was insane, but well worth the sweat, tears, and late nights because I attained my goal of getting straight A's! I originally intended on writing one blog post per month during the semester, but between endless reading and extensive writing, I didn't have much mental capacity left for creative writing. Instead of adding more pressure on myself to do elaborate blog posts, I focused on taking photos for Instagram, began Fun Fact Friday Live videos weekly, and funneled those videos through my new YouTube channel which helped me grow and continue engagement. After an intense year at school, going on vacation was MUCH needed. My goal during this trip was to decompress, have fun, and create a lot of content before I potentially go on hiatus again.
Ending 2017 and starting the New Year in New York was great and I am so excited to share my travel diary with you. I am eager to knock out this travel series within the next few weeks because school starts on January 18th. It is imperative that I get as much done as I can before my schedule becomes jam packed again in the spring semester.
This post is in collaboration with Sutro Footwear (ad).
Our trip started with a 4:00 AM wake-up call and 7:00 AM direct flight to JFK Airport on Thursday, December 28th. Once we arrived at the airport, we took a yellow cab to our AirBnb apartment in Chinatown, Manhattan. (However, I would not recommend taking a cab because it was way more expensive than a ride-share app would have been and I think our driver even over charged us. In New York, a cab ride from the airport is a flat rate which Mario was aware of, but we later learned it is usually $45 and we were charged $52 prior to adding tip.) After we settled in and relaxed a bit, we met up with friends for an Italian dinner at Pellegrino's, then decided to call it a night so we could begin planning for our first full day!
We decided to venture out to the Brooklyn Bridge early the next morning which was about a twenty-minute walk from where we were staying. During our entire trip, the weather averaged from 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit and I did not realize how much colder it would feel by the water. We walked from both ends and I felt frozen, brittle, and numb by the end even though I was wearing several layers top to bottom! I took a gamble by taking off my coat and braved the frigid temps for some portraits. This was truly one of the hardest photo shoots we have ever done because it was SO COLD. I kept telling myself it was "mind over matter," but I eventually had to face the fact that it was beyond that. I am from San Francisco and had never experienced weather that cold before. At the end of the bridge I even shed a few tears because I was scared I was going to feel the same level of discomfort for the duration of the trip.
About the Boots
Although I nearly froze, it was important that I got some good shots on the bridge in my new boots! Before we left town, Mario and I were brainstorming what brands would tell our story best and Sutro Footwear was the first that came to mind. The leather shoe company is San Francisco based and was one of the first brands we worked with as a couple.
(View the original post from August 2016 here.) We wanted to bring a special piece of San Francisco with us as we made memories in a new city. I have the Sharon HI Chelsea boots in black from last season and they are so versatile that I decided to get them in honey for Spring!
After the Brooklyn Bridge, we walked to Bluestone Lane Coffee to defrost. It was the first cafe I had ever been to that is credit card only and does not accept cash, so be sure to come prepared. In addition to some hot beverages, we indulged in sweet potato/turmeric toast and avocado toast.
We spent the rest of the day shopping and wandering the area before heading back to our AirBnb. More details coming in the next post!
I hope you are having a wonderful 2018 and that you enjoyed my first travel series post. Several more are coming soon!
Before logging off be sure to check out our friends at Sutro Footwear!
I've visited Gualala aka Sea Ranch, in Sonoma County, with my family two summers in a row and felt it was a good time to expand a travel section now that I know more about the area. When I told people I was going out of town, the first question was always, "Where?!" I found that most people didn't know where Gualala is or what to expect while visiting. I would describe the area as very low key with a country vibe. I decided to make a list of my top suggestions on how to properly prepare and enjoy your time during a trip to this rural town in Northern California. This place is perfect if you love the outdoors and lots of down time. The weather is also similar to San Francisco in the sense that it is along the coast so it can be sunny and foggy within the same day/week- be sure to check ahead of time.
1. Prepare to Drive:
Gualala is located up North, about 3-4 hours away from San Francisco, CA. Aside from being a decent drive, during my stay there, I noticed there was no Uber or Lyft service available. There are some taxi services, but I would recommend preparing to drive to your destinations within the area because relying on taxi services in rural areas can be expensive and time consuming considering they may have a smaller staff.
2. Prepare for Downtime
It's ironic to say "prepare" for downtime, considering we should be able to just- relax. But, we are so used to the hustle and bustle that sometimes we forget how to put our mind to rest. While packing, think about what you like to do to get your mind off of social media and work. I recommend bringing a good book, a deck of cards, and a portable speaker. There are also a plethora of therapeutic massages available in the area.
3. Bring Groceries in a Cooler :
There are two supermarkets in the small town. The Gualala Supermarket and the Surf Market. The food at the Surf Market has organic options, but is sooo expensive; a block of cheese and carton of eggs can be as steep as $7 each. The Supermarket is less expensive than the Surf Market, but doesn't have nearly as many organic options. I recommend bringing as much food as possible if you plan to stay for a weekend or more. Be sure to pack a cooler with plenty of ice to keep your perishables fresh during the drive.
4. Allergies :
Last year I didn't experience irregular allergies, but this year was so intense! I heard the pollen count was very high, but I was also allergic to something in the house we stayed in. I even broke out into hives one night. Prepare ahead of time to avoid the suffering I experienced just in case.
5. Bring Your Hiking Shoes :
There are several hiking trails in short driving distance from Gualala. However, be sure to prepare your destination ahead of time and bring a physical map or written directions, if possible. Cell phone service is very unreliable in the area and you want to be equipt ahead of time in order to avoid getting lost.
I've attached the "Best Hiking Trails" according to Yelp here.
6. Bring Your Bathing Suit :
There are many small beaches and swimming pools in the area. Bring your suit so you can enjoy the water and bask in the sun!
7. Watch the Seals:
Emphasis on "watch." There are strict rules and regulations to protect the habitat along the coastline. It's fun to see the seals sunbathe and baby seals play in the ocean, but please refrain from scaring or approaching the animals.
More information on the seals available here
8. Go Wine Tasting :
Sea Ranch is located in Sonoma County aka wine country and there are a few wine tasting locations in the area. I've linked the "Best 10 Wineries" in the area according to Yelp here.
9. Visit the Animal Shelter :
The animal shelter is open from 12-3 Friday through Sunday. We are all animal lovers so every year my family and I visit the cats and dogs. The staff is very friendly and their front yard has a beautiful floral walkway. If you decide to visit, and fall in love, it is $75 to adopt a cat and $100 to adopt a dog.
More information on the Redwood Coast Humane Center
10. Go to the Farmers Market :
Support the locals by purchasing homemade organic jam, honey, coffee, and more
Photo by Aleks Gamzin