I’m Thinking About a Second Blog About Miles and Reselling

As many of you know, I am a mile and points junkie.  I collect miles and points to be able to travel for what I like to call practically free.  In the last year I have not been collecting many miles because I took it easy in anticipation of us selling our house and buying a new house.  I have been thinking over the last couple of months about not only collecting miles but also building a travel slush fund to cover expenses like credit card annual fees and incidentals while traveling.  In recent weeks I have been contemplating getting into the reselling business.  I’ve been aware of this method of generating miles and earning modest profit for some time, but it seemed like it was too time consuming to make it worthwhile.

In recent weeks, however, my attitude has started to change.  I have this feeling that my current method for manufacturing miles is not going to last.  I also hate spending my own money to earn sign up bonuses.  Given what I think is the inevitable end to most of the easy methods of creating miles I figure now is as good as anytime to get into reselling.

I’ve gone back and forth on whether I should just make a new blog or add it as content to this site.  My fear with creating a second blog is that I will neglect this blog.  So for now I will include my adventures in reselling as content on this site even though it is unrelated to Portland.  I will of course continue to include Portland related content on the blog.

I think my posts about reselling will be like a journal chronicling my attempts at reselling.  I know very little about the process so if you are interested you can learn with me.

 

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Win Two Tickets to Europe With Icelandair and #PDXtravelganza

Icelandair is launching service between Portland and Reykjavic starting May 5th.  It is a seasonal service operating flights twice per week until October 20th.  I am really excited about this route because it adds pretty easy access to Europe for us PDXers.  We do not have many options for departing Portland to Europe so this is a welcome addition in my book. Plus, Iceland is awesome, and one of the great things about flying Icelandair is that you get a stopover in Iceland for free before heading on to Europe.  With one ticket you can have two vacations in one.

To celebrate the kickoff of Icelandair’s new route they are giving away two roundtrip tickets to Europe (presumably also with a stopover in Iceland).  Here are the details:

  • Between April 10th and 12th representatives from Icelandair will be in Portland.
  • Follow Icelandair on either Facebook or Twitter.
  • Each day they will post a clue as to their location plus that day’s password.
  • The first person to find their location and reveal the password wins two tickets to Europe!

For full details of the giveaway click here.  Good luck.

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Blog Posts Will Still Be Sparse

We close on the sell of our home this week, so I should have more time to devote to the blog.  Although we will be spending our weekends house hunting so I suspect blog posts will continue to suffer.  I really hope the next home I find is our last one.  Buying and selling a house sure is a pain.

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Killer Burger As Good As Advertised

Picture Courtesy Portland Mercury

I have a Portland foodie confession.  Until this week, I’ve never been to Killer Burger.  I know, weird right?  It’s not for a lack of trying.  I have tried to make it there a couple of times before and it did not work out.  Either because the place was closed (and I didn’t know) or the line was too long and I did not want to wait.

It is sort of odd to me that it has taken me this long to get there.  I’ve heard countless people go on and on about Killer Burger.  That it is the best burger in Portland, that you must try the Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon Burger, etc..  Typically, when I hear a bunch of superlatives associated with a place I start to wonder how much of the praise is legit and how much is just hype.  For me at least, I now have the answer.

In my opinion KIller Burger lives up to the hype.  It is a really good burger.  The best in Burger in Portland?  I don’t know.  It is certainly in the conversation.  Also, as an aside can you really tell the difference between one great burger from another and decide “Yup, this one is the best,” but I digress.

Killer Burger

I went to the Killer Burger on NE Sandy and ordered just a plain old Bacon Cheeseburger. I have heard numerous people say the Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon burger is the greatest burger ever made by man.  I was not prepared to venture into such craziness my first time at Killer Burger.  I wanted to get a burger standby, a bacon cheeseburger, to see how they do on a simple yet delicious every man’s burger.

I was not disappointed, in was a very good burger.  The burger was everything you would want in a great burger.  A flavorful and juicy patty, perfectly cooked bacon, quality cheese, and a bun that holds up.  After my first bite, I fully endorsed the Killer Burger hype. There is also another thing about Killer Burger that I think has been overshadowed by their fantastic burgers.  The fries, are also damn good.  They are cooked perfectly and there is hardly a trace of grease.  I am a firm believer that bad fries can ruin a good burger experience.  For me, fries are a part of the whole burger package.  A great burger with great french fries is a helluva enjoyable meal.  Killer Burger delivers on all fronts.

Killer Burger is as good as advertised and deserves the hype.  Add it to the list of must try places while in Portland.

Killer Burger on Urbanspoon

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The Portland Housing Market is Insane: My Experience Selling My House

In February we decided to sell our house.  We live in a hundred year old 3 bedroom 1 bathroom craftsman.  Our home definitely falls in the starter home category.  Last year we started thinking about selling but decided to wait until spring of 2015.  Our original plan was to list the house in late March.  However, back in February when we were talking to our realtor, we asked him when was the best time to sell.  His answer: now.  There was zero inventory.  So we spent most of February getting the house ready for sale.  We cleaned, painted, moved stuff to storage, and spruced up the yard.  My wife did some research on staging homes and we were hopeful it would make a difference.  We also moved out of the house the week we were going to list.   By doing so, we would not have to keep up with the mess tornado 1 and tornado 2 generate on a daily basis.  Being out of the house also meant buyers would be free to come see the house at anytime.

The big day came on March 5th.  Our house went active on RMLS in the morning.  Around 9:00 AM our realtor started getting a trickle of calls/texts asking to view the home.  The trickle started to increase by the hour and by 11:00 AM our realtor started to have a hard time keeping up with the phone calls and texts.  Eventually our realtor got flooded with requests to see the house.  He was getting so many calls he told buyers they could see the house just know other people will be there.

We were pretty excited by the traffic but as the day wore on we didn’t have a single offer. By 5:00 PM we were pretty disappointed by the lack of offers.  We knew the housing inventory was tight in Portland and also knew that starter homes were selling fast. We had assumed we would get a couple of offers that first day.  By dinner there were still no offers, and we were bummed.

We started to wonder if a particular feature of our house was turning buyers off.  Our house is a 3 bedroom, but given the fact that it is one hundred years old it has some quirks.  Like a stairway to the attic being in a bedroom.  That attic happens to also be our 3rd bedroom.  It is admittedly a bit weird but we did not think it would turn everyone off. By 7:00 PM we were beginning to wonder.

At 7:00 I texted our realtor and asked him what was up.  He had good news, he just received one offer and expected two more that night.  That was great news and a good start.  We had decided earlier in the day not to review offers until the end of the second day.  I felt like 3 offers on day one was a great start and we were pleased.

By the evening of day two, still no more offers.  Disappointment started to set in again. Three offers was nice but, honestly, I was hoping for more.  We had a meeting scheduled at 8:00 PM to meet with our realtor and review offers.  It was looking like we would only be reviewing three offers, maybe I had just set my expectations too high.  Shortly before 8:00 PM, we got a call from our realtor.  He was going to be late.  He was printing out offers for us to review, and still had offers coming in as he was printing.  He ended up bringing over 11 offers!

When he came over he told us just how crazy things had been.  His phone was non stop text messages and phone calls all day for two days.  He hadn’t seen anything like it since the bubble days (are they back?).  It took us two hours to go over all the offers.  Every single one was over asking price and many were significantly over.

It was not until the weekend when we ran into a realtor who showed a buyer our house and talked to our neighbors did we realize how bonkers it was.  By the evening of day one according to both my neighbor and the realtor there was literally a line down the sidewalk of people waiting to view our home.  The realtor told me she had never seen anything like it.  When I finally came home there were 41 business cards from realtors scattered throughout the house, and that is just from the people who left cards.  My wife did amazing job staging our home (I think she has future career as a stager)  The realtor told us the house was immaculate and looked great.

All I can say after this experience is that I am glad I am not looking for a first time home in Portland, especially in any neighborhood that is in close-in Portland.  In fact, I think one of the main reasons our house was so crazy is because my neighborhood is the last close-in neighborhood that still has some relatively affordable housing.

Now we have to look for a new home.  In the meantime some friends of ours have graciously offered us their finished two bedroom one bathroom basement while we house hunt.  I imagine blog posts will continue to be sporadic for the next few weeks until we get situated.

If you are looking for a fantastic realtor, who we have known and worked with for years, and advice on staging a home. Hit me up.

 

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I’m selling my house, blog posts will suffer

Over the last month blog posts have been slow and will probably continue to be slow for another couple of weeks.  We have decided to sell our house and for the last month or so my weekends have been filled with projects.  We finally list our house on Thursday the 5th. I can’t wait for the process to be over.  If you are looking for a nice craftsman starter home in Portland let me know, I know just the house for you.

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Miho Izakaya: A Delicious Japanese Restaurant In North Portland

This weekend my wife and I had a rare opportunity to actually go out to dinner without kids!  In North Portland there is a Japanese restaurant that has been on my to do list for a long time.  I had a gut feeling it was not a place I would want to take the boys so when we had a couple of hours of freedom we jumped on it and headed over to Miho Izakaya.

Before I get to the food, let me start with the bad.  It is not a real Izakaya restaurant.  A traditional Izakaya is a japanese drinking establishment centered around a grill.  The chef skweres various meats and grills the meat over the charcoal.  Food is served small plate style like a tapas bar.  By invoking the name Izakaya, Miho is conveying that it is a essentially a Japanese tapas bar.  Now, on to the food (which was spectacular).  And sorry for the poor pictures the lighting was not great.

We started dinner with cocktails and a couple of starter plates.  My wife had the seaweed salad and I had miso soup.  My wife says the seaweed salad was delicious.  The Miso soup was good, but tasted like miso so nothing extraordinary.

Miho Miso and Seaweed Salad

Next up, we ordered a Mussels, and Calamari Salad.  Both were phenomenal.  The mussels tasted fresh so I was surprised to hear they were from New Zealand. I’m not sure what the sauce was but it was very good and complimented the ocean flavor of the mussels.

Miho Mussels

As for the calamari salad, I’m not sure what to say other than it was the highlight of my dinner.  It was honest to goodness the best salad I have ever had.  I understand how silly that sounds since I am talking about a salad, but it was damn good.

Miho Calamari Salad

Next up was the main course, a huge bowl of Pork Ramen.  We debated between this and the Ahi Poke, but my wife really wanted the ramen.  She had it for the first time in Hawaii and I think she has been craving some since our return.

Miho Pork Ramen

The broth I believe was a pork broth to go along with the thin slices of pork in the bowl. The noodles soaked in all that flavor and were excellent.  I’ve been trying various Ramen places in Portland and I would put this bowl of ramen up against the popular Ramen joints in town.

Everything was so delicious we decided to stay for dessert and ordered a chocolate cake.

Miho Chocolate Cake

The cake looks amazing and tastes even better.  Just like everything we ate at Miho Izakaya it was spectacular.

The cocktails were also very good.  I had a gin cocktail and a bourbon cocktail.  My wife had a couple of tequila cocktails.  Again, spectacular (I feel like a broken record).  Our meal at Miho Izakaya was one of the more satisfying meals we have had a in long time. Every bite was amazing and best of all no kids!  I highly recommend you check this place out.

Miho Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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While Uber is on Hold in Portland, Try Curb.

If you have not been following along with the details of Uber trying to break into the Portland market let me give you a recap.

  1. Portland said no to Uber
  2. Uber responded by expanding into the suburbs.
  3. Portland said no to Uber
  4. Uber responded by saying F-U and started operating in Portland
  5. Portland city officials freaked out and fined the company a bunch of money.
  6. Uber and Portland come to an agreement.  Portland will work on the regs to allow Uber to operate, Uber agreed to back off.

I’m not sure who the winner is in this situation.  Probably Uber because they will likely be able to operate in Portland.  I have a feeling though that consumers are going to be the loser.  The whole point of Uber is that it is supposed to be cheaper than a taxi.  I have this feeling they will be charging the same rates as the taxis once this is all figured out. Although, perhaps the greatest thing about Uber is the convenience of using the app, which allows you to order and pay for the cab through their app.

On that front, the cab companies have caught up.  Enter Curb.   Curb is an app that works just like Uber in that you can order a taxi via an app on your phone.  The app also stores your credit card so when your ride is over the app bills the card.  No need to give the cabbie cash or a debit/credit card.  It is all handled through the app.

My wife and I used Curb last night.  It really is a very smooth system.  Once we were ready to go, I launch the app and click the button to hail a taxi.  The app finds the nearest available taxi and the taxi is dispatched to your location.  Having used the app three times now I really like it.

Right now there are a couple of promo codes that you can use for $10 off your ride.

  • The first is my promo code, 84T48W, download the app and first time riders will get $10 off their ride.
  • The second is the promo code DINELA.  This code is good for both first time and existing customers.  It is also good for $10 off your ride.

I’m not sure if these codes are stackable, but the DINELA code is good on multiple accounts.  I created three accounts (three different emails and phone numbers) and used the code on each one.

I’m curious to see what happens with Portland and Uber.  In the mean time Curb is a very useful alternative.

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Visiting Portland? 5 Tips to Become a Temporary Local

There are certain travel philosophies that I try to follow.  The biggest one is when visiting a place I try to become a temporary local.  This doesn’t mean I try not to look like a tourist, but it does mean that I try to experience a place like a local.  I try to follow the old proverb “when in Rome. do as Romans do.”

On that note, here are 5 things you can do to experience Portland like a local.  You’ll notice that this list is entirely geared towards food.  That’s because Portland is a foodie town.  Within the city we do not have a lot of tourist attractions.  Instead we have a character and a way of life that in my opinion revolves around food and food culture.

1.  Learn to like beer

It is no secret that Portland likes it beer.  We have more breweries than any other city in the world.  Not only do new ones open every year, I can only think of one that has gone out of business in the last 7 or 8 years.  Just when you think Portland has reached its brewery capacity another one opens and it does well.  So if you are visiting Portland, learn to like beer.  There is a beer for everyone.

2.  Skip Breakfast, Eat Brunch

This epiphany struck me one day when I went to Pine State Biscuit late morning on a Thursday.  I was on a staycation so I felt like I had an excuse to be out and assumed it would not be crowded.  Boy was I wrong.  Portlandia was not far off the mark when they said Portland is where 30 year olds go to retire.  What do retired people do?  Eat brunch of course.

3.  Eat Trendy

Portland is not without it’s chain restaurants, but I swear restaurant openings by well known chefs are treated like a red carpet event.  Well known chefs?  Yep, cooks get famous in this town.  Restaurants come and go in Portland.  Find the next wave and check it out.  Where to find these restaurants?  That leads me to number 4.

4.  Get out of Downtown!

Seriously, locals only go downtown to work and shop.  There is nothing downtown. Everything that is “happening” in Portland exists outside of downtown.  If you want to find the trendy places look east across the river.  If you want to be cutting edge the the central east side neighborhood is getting a lot of attention these days.  North Williams is also booming.

5.  Go Artisanal

Of all things Portland this might be the most parodied, but it’s true.  To fully appreciate this aspect of Portland, I thought I would make a list, off the top of my head, all things artisan, not named beer, in Portland.

  1. Charcuterie: Olympic Provisions
  2. Coffee: Stumptown
  3. Chai: Pip’s Original
  4. Bagel: Bowry
  5. Salt: The Meadow
  6. Donuts: Blue Star
  7. Butchery: Laurelhurst Market
  8. Bread:  Pearl Bakery
  9. Pasta: Pastaworks
  10. Ice Cream: Salt & Straw

Next time you visit Portland try to incorporate some of these things, if not all, into your visit. I think it will improve how you experience Portland and you’ll start to get all the inside jokes on Portlandia!

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Epic Beer Hall Coming to Portland in April

 

In 2013 the Portland Police Athletic Association sold its building on SE 6th and Alder to a developer.  At the time no one was sure what would become of it, would it stay a gym? Oh wait…did I say gym? I meant bar.  In fact I meant seedy dive bar in the Central Eastside neighborhood, but I digress.

The Oregonian reports this week that the former PPAA building will become the Portland beer hall to end all Portland beer halls.  Let’s go through our checklist of must haves for a epic beer hall.  Craft beer?  Check.  Lots of it?  99 taps in fact, so check.  Oregon only craft beer?  Yep, check.  High quality olympic provisions sausage?  Check.  Sweet close-in location?  Check.   Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Loyal Legion.

To say I am excited about this would be an understatement.  It is also going into a neighborhood that is receiving a lot of attention recently from developers and will just add to what is a growing list of new and exciting restaurants/watering holes in the area.  The Loyal Legion will be 100% dedicated to Oregon craft beer.  No out of state beer will be served.  I predict this place is going to go high on the list of must visits for Portland beer tourists.  The Loyal Legion is set to open in April.

H/T Oregonian, read the full article here.

 

 

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