I’ve Decided to Semi-Retire this Blog


After 2.5 years of blogging I have decided to call it quits – sort of.  Blogs posts are going to become uncommon and sporadic. Once I moved out of Portland I feel weird dolling out advice on Portland.  The fact of the matter is that to also do this blog right I need to go out a lot and I just don’t have the time anymore.  I’ve also switched my attention to something else that has sucked away whatever free time I had to work on this blog, the reselling stuff.

When I started reselling I had mentioned my idea for a second blog on the subject.  I didn’t think that I would have time to maintain two blogs so I put that idea on the shelf.  Since then I have been posting about reselling on this blog, but it does not fit.  I had a choice if blogging about reselling is what I want to do then I needed to choose between this blog or a new one.  In the end I chose a new blog, milespointsreselling.com.

For the miles and points enthusiasts that read this blog I hope you come along and read it as well.  The blog will be a chronicle of my attempts at reselling and other avenues for earning miles and free travel.

At the end of the day I can’t believe I kept at this as long as I did.  I am also shocked at how many people read this blog on a daily basis.  I will continue to respond to all comments and emails.  I will also post something occasionally, but only when there is something that I feel like is important to get out there.  I hope you come over to the new blog and read it.

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Ahhh, Fall is here.

I guess technically it is still summer but geez the weather changed in a hurry.  We went from record high temperatures, the hottest July (or was it August?) on record, to cool weather and clouds overnight.  As a dyed in the wool Oregonian I of course welcome the change.  Autumn is on of my favorite seasons and I think September is the best month of the year.  We still get the occasional 80+ degree day but it is also sprinkled in with the cool brisk sunny days that Oregonians know and love.  Oh and Football starts.  Go Ducks!

I thought I would take a moment and mention my favorite fall activities.

  • Duck Football
    • If you are a sports fan and you happen to be visiting Portland during football season, make a trip to Autzen.  Tailgate and take in the whole experience. Some even think we have the best tailgate experience in all of college football.
  • Fruit Loop 
    • I love the fruit loop.  The fruit loop is a drive around stoping at various orchards, farms, and wineries.  Every year in the fall we go to Draper Girls Country Farm and pick Honey Crisp apples.   Mandatory stops for us also include the Apple Valley Country and Hood River itself.  If you want to take in one of the best patios of any brewery in Oregon make a stop at Solera Brewing.
  • Bruch
    • If you have not caught on Portland is big into brunch.  I’m not sure why.  I am not much in to brunch during the summer.  In the summer I like to get up and get out early.  Autumn? When the rain comes? Not so much.  Check out Pine State Biscuits, Gravy, Tasty and Sons, and the plethora of other places in Portland offering a solid brunch.
  • Beer + Fire Pit
    • When the weather turns cool I love relaxing next to a fire pit and drinking a good beer.  PDX Eater offers a list of 15 spots in Portland with fire pits.
  • Drive to the Coast
    • I know this sounds weird right?  The whether is getting cooler and the rain is coming.  Take a drive down the Nehalem River towards the coast and tell me this is not a great time of year.

If you like this picture you can buy it from www.strengthinperspective.com

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Reselling an iPad Air 2 128GB UPDATE

Another successful sale.  Looks like my turnaround on selling things on Amazon is about two weeks.  90% of that is sending it to Amazon and then Amazon moving it to another warehouse.  The transportation delays are a pain because my items show up as back ordered until it arrives at whatever warehouse they are sending it to.  Generally, it seems once the iPad is not moving around and is in the buy box they sell within a day.

The downside of the two week turnaround is that I am not selling as many things as I would like.  Until I get the hang of this I am only selling one item at a time and generally not looking for another item until I sell the current one.

When I get more confident in this process I will start to sell multiple items at once.


  • iPad Air 2 128 GB
  • Purchase Price = $534.99
  • Southwest Points Earned = 535
  • Sale Price = $643.99
  • Fees = $45.36
  • Profit = $63.64

Not bad for less than an hours work.  Earned miles and cash.

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Reselling an iPad Air 2 128GB

I am very encouraged with my recent success selling an iPad on Amazon so when I saw another sale at Best Buy I decided to try again. Here are the details.

  • iPad Air 2 128GB
  • MSRP: $699
  • Purchase Price: $534.99
  • Amazon List Price: $645.59
  • Expected Amazon Fees: $38.38
  • Anticipated Profit: $71.82
  • Points Earned: 534 Southwest points and 534 Best Buy reward points

I am currently trying to meet the minimum spending on my wife’s Southwest card so the purchase was made with that.  After meeting the minimum spend on the Southwest card that will trigger a bonus of 50,000 points.  The minimum spend is $3,000.  The profit from the resale will also offset the cost of the annual fee, $99, which was not waived.

As for the deal itself, how did I get a $699 iPad for $534.99?  It was a combination of taking advantage of a sale, using a 10% off coupon, and redeeming a best buy rewards gift certificate.  You can get Best Buy 10% off coupons at the post office in their change of address packet.

I could have made this deal stronger in a couple of ways.  First, I didn’t use a portal like I did in my last deal.  I totally brain farted that.  In looking back at the portals the deals were not that strong so I didn’t miss out on much.  I would have been kicking myself more if there was a 5% cash back offer.

Second, I could have bought Best Buy gift cards at at discount from Cardpool.com.  The current discount is 6%.  That would have brought my cost down by another $32.   I did contemplate doing that but it would have required me to buy $535 worth of gift cards spread across 8 gift cards.  I have not done that before so was not comfortable with going all in like that.  I think next time I will test it out by buying a couple and seeing how it works.

Fingers crossed this attempt works out as well as the last one.

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Adventures in Reselling, First Success!

This is an update on my second attempt at reselling.  My first attempt did not go so great. The second attempt was a great success.

To recap, I bought a 16GB iPad Air for $244.99 at Best Buy.  I did so through Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan shopping mall.  At the time they were offering a 2x bonus at Best Buy so I earned 540 miles on the purchase.  I listed the iPad on Amazon using Fulfilled by Amazon.

I initially listed the iPad at $365.  There were a couple of iPads listed at a lower price but I decided to be a little greedy and hoped those would sell quick and then mine would be next in line.  The iPad ended up sitting for a few days and I grew impatient.  I dropped the price by $10 and it sold within 3 hours of the price drop.  After Amazon’s fees I ended up with a profit of $89.  Not too shabby.


  • iPad Air 16GB
  • Purchase Price: $244
  • Sale Price: $355
  • Net to me after fees: $333
  • Profit: $89
  • Miles: 540 Alaska Air miles.

At first blush you may think what’s the big deal, it is only $89 and 540 miles.  True, but the potential is in scalability.  I’m not in the comfort zone yet of buying in bulk and will probably continue to do one at a time for awhile, but imagine this times 5 or 10?

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The Death of Old Portland

In the last week both Portland Monthly and Willamette Week have brought up the topic of the death of Old Portland.  Willamette Week is conducting a poll online about when Old Portland was born and when did it die.  I think it is an interesting question.  Those of us who have been in Portland for 20+ years can feel that there is something different.  What it is different is hard to say.  This is going to be my probably lame attempt at putting a finger on it.

First we have to answer the question of what is Old Portland? Old Portland is hard to explain but this poster about sums it up.

What is the significance of this poster?  Well the guy would be Portland’s former mayor Bud Clark.  He was a bar owner in Goose Hollow who was elected mayor in the mid 80’s. If a picture is worth a thousand words, that poster sums up Old Portland better than anything I could write.  To me it demonstrates a city that is gritty, blue collar, but also likes some of the finer things in life.  The photo was taken in 1978, before Bud Clark was elected mayor but it made him famous and probably helped his bid for mayor.

In 1984 Bud Clark was elected Mayor, Higgins Restaurant opened, and BridgePort Brewing Company opened.  Higgins was one of the first restaurants in Portland that focused on local fresh ingredients and was a seminal restaurant in Portland that started the foodie craze that we all know and love today.  BridgePort was the first craft brewery in Oregon and is a founding father of the craft beer industry.  The confluence of the food, the beer, and the attitude represents to me the birth of Old Portland.

Is Old Portland Dead?

Hand2Mouth seems to think so and will be hosting a funeral with eulogies and all.  I think I tend to lean towards yes and the death was recent.  While I don’t think I can pinpoint Old Portland’s exact death, I am pretty confident that I know when the terminal illness kicked in.

Ok, ok, I don’t think Portlandia killed Portland, but it represents something that did. Portland becoming popular both nationally and internationally.  The popularity combined with the economic recovery and growth in Portland killed Old Portland.

There has been an explosion of growth in parts of Portland.  Portland has become an it thing, which is decidedly not Old Portland.  There are more out of staters moving to Portland, the housing inventory and rental inventory is non-existent and it is pushing Portland into unaffordability.

Is the growth and change in Portland a bad thing?  Well, certainly the traffic sucks a lot more than it used to.  But the answer to that probably depends on who you ask.  The one fight I find to be an entertaining side show is the hipster vs. yipster fight.

Portland has changed, Old Portland is dead, but such is life; cities evolve just like people. No doubt there are cool things to come in the New Portland (MLB anyone??).  But I do miss the Old Portland.

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Ranking Portland Airport’s Restuarants

In recent years PDX has really transformed the food options available at the airport.  They have really taken on the foodie culture that exists in Portland and put it in the airport.  The restaurant options in the airport have been substantially upgraded as a result.  There are now 27 restaurants at PDX, which considering the small size of the airport seems like a lot to me.  With so many options to choose from, lets break them down from the bottom of the barrel to the cream of the crop.

Bottom of the Barrel:  Skip these.  This is the fast food list. There are better options that serve the same type of food and better quality.

  • McDonald’s
  • Burgerville
  • Panda Express

Third Tier:  This is your average standard airport fare.  Not bad, not great, but will fill you up and might be overpriced for what it is.

  • Capers Cafe
  • Mo’s
  • Beaches
  • Beach Shack
  • Henry’s
  • Roses
  • Sandoval’s
  • Tequila Grill

Second Tier:  These are solid choices that would probably be top offerings at most other airports, but not at PDX.

  • Elephant’s Delicatessen
  • MOD
  • Pot Belly
  • Cafe Yum
  • Petite Provence
  • Hissho Sushi
  • Stanford’s

First Tier:  This is the cream of the crop at PDX, these are restaurants that are worth going to outside of PDX.

  • Koi Fusion (Food Cart)
  • Pok Pok (Food Cart)
  • Bro Dogs (Food Cart)
  • Laurelwood
  • Rogue
  • The Country Cat

Left off the list were Starbucks and Coffee People.


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Reselling Attempt No. 2

Ok, so I finally got around to taking another crack at reselling.  Hopefully this works out better than my first attempt.  I’m feeling pretty confident in this one.  Here is the deal breakdown.

On Saturday I was kicking myself in the pants for having not caught the Black Friday in July sale that Best Buy had over the weekend. They were selling iPad Air 2s with a $125 discount . When you combine that with an Amex offer of $25 off $250 at best buy it is a winner.  Well by time I noticed they were sold out.

Today, when I got an email about a Cyber Monday in July sale, I jumped on it.  iPad Air 2s were not on sale but iPad Air’s were.  They were $100 off.  I was also able to take advantage of the same Amex offer and I had a 10% off coupon.  The deal broke down as follows.

  • Purchase Price = $244.99
  • Best Buy Rewards = 269
  • Alaska Air Miles (I used shopping portal) = 538
  • Amex “Old” Blue Cash points (.5%) = 134

About the Blue Cash points.  This month we got the Amex “Old” Blue Cash card. This card will earn 5% cash back on gas and groceries after spending $6500. Ordinarily I would not have used that card for this purchase.  However, this purchase put us over the $6500 mark.  So moving forward we will get 5% cash back on all gas and grocery purchases.

How much do I hope to earn in profit?  Currently this iPad is selling on Amazon for $365. After Amazon takes their commission I hope to earn $338.  That is a profit of $93, plus 538 Alaska miles, $2.69 in Best Buy Rewards, and triggering my 5% cash back bonus on the Blue Cash card.  Not too shabby for about 30 minutes work this morning.

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Oregon Brewers Festival Starts Today

Image from oregonbrewfest.com

Portland has lots of fairs, festivals, and celebrations.  Pretty much year round there is a good chance something is taking place.  But without a doubt, my favorite is the Oregon Brewers Festival.  It is the largest outdoor craft beer festival in the country and I find it to always be a good time.

The festival starts today at noon.  There is also an opening day parade which will start at 11:30 from Metalcraft Fabrication at 723 N. Tillamook Street.  The parade usually involves a few hundred people and this year the grand Marshal will be Kurt and Rob Widmer.  They along with a couple other of local brewers started the OBF 28 years ago.  The parade goers will also be accompanied by the Transcendental Brass Band (who by the way are awesome),  The parade is a goofy fun time and I encourage you to take part if you can.

Admission to the festival is free.  However, to taste beer you will need to buy a mug and tokens.  A piece of advice, and I have no scientific validity to what I am about to say and may also be attributed to beer goggles, however…  A full mug is four tokens, a partial mug is one token.  I’m convinced that two partials equals a nearly full mug, close enough that it is not worth paying the extra two tokens to make the difference.  So, if you are going to be there for multiple days.  Considering buy two mugs, get a partial pour in each for 1 token, and then combine the two.  I would only advise this if you are planning on going for multiple days because it takes a few beers to make up the difference and even come out ahead due to the cost of the extra mug.  Have fun and be safe.

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Why I moved to the ‘Burbs

It was not too long ago, where I would have scoffed at the idea of moving out of the city and off to the suburbs.  The following commercial pretty much sums up my life trajectory in the last 10 years.

There are many things that I will miss about Portland, and some things that I won’t.


  1. Restaurants
  2. Trimet
  3. Easy Entertainment Options
  4. Parks Galore
  5. My Favorite Neighborhoods


  1. Tweakers
  2. Tent Cities in Downtown Portland and Central Eastside
  3. Terrible Public Schools
  4. Hipsters

The bottom line for us that pushed the move out of the city was two things.  One, was space.  We needed a bigger house.  We were living in your classic Portland craftsman bungalow.  We had about 1200 square feet of actual livable space in our house.  When it was just my wife and I it was not a problem.  When we added our oldest son it was doable.  When our youngest arrived it was manageable until the last year when we were living with a toddler and a pre-k in 1200 square feet.

The second reason for moving is public schools.  Portland, along with many other public school districts in Oregon, has been in a downward spiral since Measure 5 passed in the early ’90s.  West Linn some how has managed to avoid that trajectory and is one of the best public school systems in the state.  We went from sending our children to a failing school to one that is a spanish immersion school and in the top 10% of statewide performance standards. While I realize that urban flight of highly educated professionals to suburbs does not help urban schools, it can hardly be blamed for the failure of Portland’s schools.  If anything it is just a symptom of a larger problem.

I miss already the easy access to fantastic restaurants and neighborhood pubs.  Thank goodness it is summer and I love barbecuing.  Today on the menu are smoked spare ribs! So time to go mow the lawn, turn on the barbie, go to home depot, and maybe bed bath and beyond if we have time.

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