The Nines Portland Hotel – A Review

We go up to Portland, Oregon quite a bit and have stayed in many of the main downtown hotels.  We planned a last minute trip for the President’s weekend and this time chose The Nines as it was $50/night cheaper than the other contenders (though this is not always the case).  We had stayed here several years ago when they had first opened, but for one reason or another had never gone back.  While all the downtown hotel’s are very well located for shopping and picking up the MAX light rail, The Nines definitely has the best location of them all. Located in the Meier and Frank building, you can just walk out of the lobby and the entrance to M & F is right there.  Just kitty-corner is the entrance to Pioneer Place and Nordstrom is just one block up past Pioneer Courthouse Square.  The MAX light rail runs right by the hotel, a stop is just 1/2 block away, or you can walk just a few blocks up to the streetcar stop and get to The Pearl or NW 23rd. Read More →

As Austin Energy noted, transitioned from creating market

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Why We Travel – Dreams Do Come True

There are many reasons why we started traveling abroad with our kids.  To “see the world”, experience other cultures, see things we had read about or seen in movies and eat amazing food.  But there was one other reason as well.  I wanted to be sure my kids were not apprehensive or intimidated about studying abroad if that was what their dream would be to do.  When I was in college I had some interest in studying abroad, but having never traveled abroad I was fearful of the experience, and not sure my parents would have supported the idea.  Read More →

Need a Shower or to “Freshen Up” at San Francisco Airport (SFO)?

Great news! It is easy to take a shower or freshen up at SFO after a long haul flight or just a long day.  My daughter left Sunday morning from Oregon to San Francisco for her trip to study abroad in Rome.  While waiting for her SFO – Frankfurt flight she received notification via her phone that the flight had been cancelled!!  No attendants at the counter because her previous flight arrived earlier and it was still 2 hrs before the flight had to leave.  She finally found an agent who said she had to go outside of security to talk to someone.  In the meantime she also called United’s 1-800 number where she was promptly put on hold.  After waiting in an enormous line and being on hold for ever, she did eventually get rebooked on a Swiss Air flight but it was not leaving for another 6 hours.  Then she had to lug all her luggage on a cart (we estimated at least 100 lbs.) from the domestic terminal to the international terminal.

We are still not sure why they just left her luggage on the carousel in the domestic terminal, but I guess after the flight got cancelled that is what they do??

Anyway, after all this she called, and said “Mom, I’m drenched!!  Is there anywhere I can take a shower here?!”  I quickly googled and was happy to tell her that  yes, there is a place called Freshen Up located before security in the International Terminal, near the entrance for Gates 91-102.  For about $15 they provide you with soap, shampoo, conditioner, towel, and slippers.


Lauren said it was very nice and clean.  One of the reviews I had read about it said you could not lock the doors, but Lauren said her door definitely had a lock.  When she was done she said she felt 1000x times better and was now ready for the rest of her journey!!  There is also a place right next door where you can pay to store your luggage.

I tried to see if I could find out what other airports had a Freshen Up but they do not have a website.  Would love to hear if others know about places like this in other airports, in the US and abroad.


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Top Ten Tips for Traveling with Grandparents

In front of the Louvre in Paris 2006

Interested in traveling with your kids and their grandparents abroad?? 

We have traveled with our kids, and their grandparents (my mom and dad) three times in the past seven years, and are planning our fourth trip for this March.  We are very lucky as we all get along quite well, and my parents are very easy going people.  My mom is not as adventurous as we are, so I do not include them to locations such as Morocco or Vietnam, but locales in Europe are always a good bet, though they did join us for an amazing trip to Israel and Petra.  Here are my Top Ten tips to help you get started and to have a trip the whole family will enjoy. Read More →

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