Tag Archives: oregon


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My time in Portland was short but also wonderful.  I enjoyed so many great days out, foodie rendezvous’ and most importantly Oregon’s climate.  The people were cool and weird.  But also kind, welcoming and genuine.

Would I visit again?  Yes.  In a heartbeat.

If my articles have convinced you to visit Portland – check out http://www.travelportland.com/ for travel planning ideas.  Have fun and get lost in the woods!


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Did you know that there is no sales tax in Oregon State?  Yes, ladies and gents.  It’s time to start curating a trip to Oregon State where there isn’t sales tax so you can start saving even more of your hard-earned shopping cash.

Since the American Dollar has been horrendous to buy,  I wanted to keep an eye on my spending.  I checked out the shopping in downtown Portland; although there were some awesome things to buy – I wanted to stretch my dollar as far as I could.

After doing some research I found that Woodburn Premium Outlets® in Woodburn, Oregon would be able to help me out with my goal.  No sales tax coupled with 60% – 70% off mark downs was delectable for my pocketbook.

When I arrived to the open air beautiful sprawling layout that is Woodburn Premium Outlets® I knew I made the right decision.  The space was easy to navigate, it held shops I wanted to shop in, there were no long queues of people waiting to make purchases and there were deals to be had.

Think of these 110 Outlet Stores and how they could help you out with your Black Friday Shopping:

Adidas, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Cole Haan, Eddie Bauer, Fossil, Gap, J.Crew, Max Studio, Nautica, Nike, The North Face, Polo Ralph Lauren, Puma, Tommy Hilfiger, Tumi, and more.

As always as you prep for your shopping day I encourage you to pick up a Woodburn Premium Outlets® VIP Coupon Book from the Management Office if you are an AAA member.  This Coupon Book will make your American dollar go even further.

For example, in my Woodburn Premium Outlets® VIP Coupon Book I had Levi’s Outlet Store savings of $15 off purchase of $100 or more and $30 off purchase of $200 or more.  I also found a Cole Haan $50 off purchase of $250 or more and a J.Crew 10% off purchase of $100 or more.  In total there are over 85 merchants participating in the Woodburn Premium Outlets® VIP Coupon Book – all ready to knock off more money off their wares.

The Woodburn Premium Outlets® VIP Coupon Book  has a nice mix of high-end merchants to middle of the road merchants.  Keeping in mind the goal of saving cash – when you shop during Black Friday keep your Woodburn Premium Outlets® VIP Coupon Book close at hand.  Coupled with the no sales tax – you could be saving close to 80% off your total purchases.  That would never happen in downtown Portland, Oregon.

In my store hunt I was able to pick up 3 pairs of Levi’s Jeans, a t-shirt and some accessories for all under $60 using my coupon booklet and saving on the no sales tax.  The total worth of the goods was $200 retail.  That was a huge win.

Last Fall, when I visited Woodburn Premium Outlets® sister, Woobury Common Premium Outlets® in Central Valley, New York; I discovered a new-found love affair with Under Armour.  With our Canadian winters getting even worse – Under Armour on sale is a great investment.

As I ploughed through the sales rack I found a fleece, a hoodie, some yoga stretch pants and some comfy work out tees.  Again using the Woodburn Premium Outlets® VIP Coupon Book and saving on the no sales tax I walked away with goods for a total of $90.  The total worth of the goods was $300 retail.  Another win.

I appreciated the fact that we were outside Portland and it was a tad quieter walking around Woodburn Premium Outlets®.  Similar to that of Woodburn’s sister Outlets:  Woodbury Common Premium Outlets® (in New York), Chicago Premium Outlets® and Boston Premium Outlets® – Woodburn Premium Outlets® was awesome to stroll in and out of shops.  The cool crisp air, fall colours and a no stress to shopping ambiance added to my shopping vigour.

The shops were endless and easy to navigate.  I would encourage you to pick up a map before you start your day and circle the shops you would like to check out.  This will give you an idea on time and also keep an eye on where you want to spend your money the most.

If you are looking for break points to leave your partner and the kids or need a respite from all that shopping there are some great food options on site.  From the cheerful cafes and sit down eateries – again Woodburn Premium Outlets®  has you covered.  Again, all affordably priced.

Lastly, I encourage you to get to Woodburn Premium Outlets® early in the day.  This way you can get a feel of the space and as I mentioned before start some map pre-planning.   It will save you time and you will capture all of your shopping needs.

Keep this Checklist handy before you leave for Woodburn Premium Outlets®:

–          Sign up for their VIP Shopper Club for added discounts or coupons https://www.premiumoutlets.com/vip/

–          Grab a bottle of water, wear some comfortable shoes and be ready to walk.

–          Get a good night sleep the night before so you are clear and ready to search out some awesome deals.

–          Try to keep your normally heavily purse down to the bare minimum.  The less you carry on your upper body frees up hands for purchases.

–          Make a list of things you want to buy for yourself, family and price points that fit your budget.

–          Grab a map and a coupon booklet from the Management Office before you start shopping.  They are located close to the Levi’s Store.

–          Lastly, keep your chin up and have fun.

What are Woodburn’s store hours over Black Friday and the Christmas holidays?


How do I get to Woodburn?


Keep it simple and have fun!  Tell me what you pick up!


1001 N Arney Road

Woodburn, OR 97071

(503) 981-1900


The Mark Spencer Hotel: Downtown Portland’s Hotel to the Arts

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The Mark Spencer Hotel is the perfect choice for your visit to Portland, Oregon. Each room is unique, personally accessorized to create a comfortable homelike atmosphere with the added benefit of our hotel services. A wide variety of spacious studios and one-bedroom suites await your selection – impeccably serviced and complemented with kitchen furnishings and ample closet spaces. The hotel is completely non-smoking and features select pet friendly rooms.

Hotel guests enjoy daily complimentary continental breakfast with selection of espresso coffees, copy of The New York Times, Wi-Fi, afternoon tea and cookies, and evening wine reception. Additional amenities include room service, individualized voice mail, 24 hour fitness center, an on-site laundry facility and dry-cleaning services, hair dryers, iron and ironing board. On-site parking available for the lowest fees in town including discounts for hybrids.  Check in time is 4pm and check out time is 12 noon.

Our convenient city center location allows you to enjoy Portland’s vibrant downtown and we can set the stage for your cultural enjoyment. Our knowledgeable concierge team will guide you to fine arts packages, opera, theatre, museum and dining reservations. Situated where Portland’s fashionable West End meets The Pearl District, Mark Spencer hotel guests are just steps from unique boutiques, diverse restaurants, famous food carts, galleries, teashops, cultural attractions, parks, and tax-free shopping. No trip to Portland is complete until you have visited the world’s largest new and used bookstore – Powell’s Books – only one short block from the Hotel or VooDoo Doughnuts featuring unique flavors and shapes including the renowned maple bacon breakfast doughnut.

After your day of exploration is complete, retreat to the respite of the hotel with a relaxing cup of afternoon tea in our classic Euro-style library, or enjoy an evening glass of local wine and a slice of cheese in our Atrium lobby. Rest assured, our gracious hospitality will bring you back time and time again.


When I travel my goal is to feel comfortable, taken care of and swaddled in luxury with absolutely no effort on my part.  I feel I achieved all of those goals and more when I stayed at The Mark Spencer Hotel in Portland, Oregon a few weeks ago.

The Mark Spencer Hotel is located in the Pearl District in Portland’s city centre.  It was a perfect fit to be able to walk to Portland’s hot spots but also offering me a quiet respite when on holiday.

The Mark Spencer is a boutique, vibrant, locally owned, Arts hotel featuring 102 guest rooms and suites at exceptional value.   I much rather patronize a hotel like The Mark Spencer hotel when I travel mainly for their attention to detail, their local flavour and modern aesthetic.  Sometimes it’s not about getting points and travel rewards.  I want an impeccable experience upfront.

Right from the start – my trip from Portland’s airport into the city was roughly 49 minutes.  The Mark Spencer was a hop skip and a jump away from where the Max stop dropped me off.  Which was perfect if you are carrying a bag or two and want to be instantly entranced by what Portland will be offering you in the days ahead.

Did you know you could bid your own price to stay at The Mark Spencer Hotel?

Indeed you can!  Talk about an interactive experience.  If you know your travel dates and you are ready to get the best deal possible, submit your offer through The Mark Spencer Hotel’s safe and secure Bid Your Own Price website.  They guarantee a fast turnaround response to your bid and you may save even more!

I took advantage of this offer and I saved a lot of money and stayed within my travel budget.

My successful bid guaranteed me a King Guestroom with a Kitchen.  The Standard room with King sized bed room came with premium luxury linens, a large closet, full private bath and fully equipped kitchenette with refrigerator, cook top and sink.   I felt like I was in my own private Portland apartment for the 4 days I stayed at The Mark Spencer hotel.  It was a tremendous experience!

There were a few days I had leftovers from a restaurant that I warmed up in my microwave whilst using the cutlery provided in my kitchen cabinets and drawers.  The kitchen room option again is a great way to save money whilst travelling.

I appreciated being able to take nice hot showers in my gorgeous bathroom after a long day.  The water pressure was fantastic and I felt soothed and pampered after every jaunt.  The bathroom was also very clean and the towels were decadent upon use.  I felt like I was having a spa experience when I got ready for my day every morning.

The Standard room with King sized bed room also came with a Flat screen TV, AM/FM clock radio, hair dryer,  iron and ironing board.  I looked forward to every morning having the TV on to check the weather and then come back to my hotel room after a long day and watch a film before falling asleep in my heavenly bed.  The decadence was overflowing.

I particularly appreciated the complimentary Breakfast, Wi-Fi and Evening Wine Tasting Reception.

Imagine when you are on holiday and don’t want to think about breakfast.  Being able to stroll down to the main lobby where there is a pretty breakfast nook and seating set up for you to enjoy eggs, toast, bagels, hot tea, coffee or other specialty drinks, fruit etc. at your leisure.  If you miss breakfast the hot drinks flow all day long.  I noted the fact that The Mark Spencer stocked Stash Tea and some lovely cappuccinos.  There were some mornings I packed a tea up in a travel cup and I was on my way.  These moments made my vacation days even more special whilst staying at The Mark Spencer hotel.

Having the NY Times dropped off at my door every morning was a treat.  To be able to linger in bed with my tea and have the morning news on or music playing before I started my day was truly luxurious.  The Wi-Fi in my room was fast and never without an interruption.

There were a few times I was back at the hotel in the afternoon and indulged in some tea and cookies.  Again perfect relaxing and indulging moments that broke up my day courtesy of The Mark Spencer Hotel.  These moments helped especially when I was rushing around and needed a breather – coming back to The Mark Spencer for a tea break did my mind and body good.  The Mark Spencer Hotel being local and in the Pearl District helped in me being able to return back to the hotel mid day as well.  The location was indeed everything!

I also enjoyed the evening locally sourced wine tasting and cheese reception.   Again, a perfect grounding experience when I felt like my mind was racing and I had a packed day still in front of me.  I loved having a glass of yummy and robust wine on the house and some cheese and crackers to keep me feeling free from any worry.  These small details really made The Mark Spencer Hotel stand out.  Think world-class hotel, interested and compassionate staff, superior rooms and a level of customer service that is 5 stars – you are guaranteed these details when you stay at The Mark Spencer Hotel.

All of my travel needs were taken care during my Mark Spencer Hotel stay.  If you are travelling alone on vacation or for business The Mark Spencer Hotel will ensure the luxury, comfort and relaxation elements are perfectly curated for your needs.  Your job?  You just need to show up!

Mark Spencer Hotel

409 SW 11th Ave

Portland, OR, 97205, USA