Fair Trade Friday Update- September Box

It was Fair Trade Friday again last week!  My favorite Friday of the month!!!!

From their website:


Why Fair Trade?

It ensures club products were made by artisans in fair working conditions who were being paid a fair wage.

Basically, no child gave up his education, home and family to labor in a sweat shop so that your calves can be toasty in a pair of trendy boot cuffs. You can give gifts of handcrafted jewelry and unique home decor with a clear conscience. People say it’s the thought behind the gift that counts most. In this case, we’ve done some of that thinking for you.

How can we deliver such amazing products to you at a steal?

Easy. We’re not out to get rich. We truly love helping people and especially empowering the oppressed. The best way we have found to do that is let them discover their own value. Our desire is that one day, they come to see their value in the God who made them. For now, we can help them see their value in creating something beautiful that, with some marketing, will sustain or supplement their families. Plus, we work hard to establish real life relationships with many of the artisans we work with.

Let’s use one of our bags for example. They come from India. The company is Fair Trade certified, which guarantees the artisans were treated and paid fairly. By purchasing the bag (which will be an item in a club box with your Fair Trade Friday membership), you are supporting the oppressed people of India, including widows, disabled, anyone seen as unemployable or invaluable. The price of the product boils down to the wage earned by the artisan, the necessary materials, and shipping. That’s it. No one in the middle is taking a cut. And, there’s your steal.

So here was what was in my September box!!!!


I love the chevron tote! Bangle bracelets, soap, lip balm and a storage bag.

More information can be found here about Fair Trade Friday:http://fairtradefriday.club/

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Check if Hotel Reservation Price has Lowered to Save

IF I have time prior to my trip I reprice my hotel reservation.  Meaning I go to the hotel website and pretend to make a reservation.  I had the Country Inn and Suites Washington Dulles booked for one night at the AAA rate of $81.  I was happy enough at that price.  But I just made another reservation for the same room style and date for $10 less.  $70.34 plus tax.

Always make sure you can cancel the higher cost reservation with no penalty. (I book refundable rates because I lose nothing if my plans change.)  Then I finish out the lower priced reservation and get a confirmation number before I go back in and cancel the higher priced reservation.

You do not always find a lower rate, sometimes you get lucky like I did today.  And I will check it one more time before I leave because it takes me less than five minutes to save some money.

Categories: How I Save on Travel | Tags: , | 3 Comments

IHG Into the Nights Promotion

IHG Rewards (Holiday Inn) once again has a promotion that varies from account to account.  Some people are reporting that they need to complete 6 offers to receive the bonus points, I have to complete 4 to receive my bonus points.


26,900 points or 2 Free Night(s):

Complete 4 of 4 offers and earn 26,900 bonus points or 2 free nights

  •  Stay 5 night(s) at any of IHG’s 4,700 hotels worldwide 8,400 points
  •  Stay 2 Saturdays at any of our IHG hotel brands 8,000 points
  •  Stay at 2 Holiday Inn hotel(s) 4,800 points
  •  Download and sign in to the IHG App and book a stay. The IHG App allows you to get mobile-exclusive rates, access your virtual membership card and more. 1,900 points

Here is the link to register: https://intothenights.ihg.com/amer/us/en/login/index?utm_medium=missing&utm_source=missing&cm_sp=missing&offerId=P8247&promoCode=8247&cm_mmc=OSMAM_thirdparty_GL_IntoTheNights14_DEFAULT

I really am not planning to spend 5 nights this fall at their brand hotels. I can do two Saturday stays at a Holiday Inn hotel earning14,700 total points if I book through the app.  As usual I signed up because you never know where life will take you but I think I will not be earning the bonus points at this time.


Categories: Discounts | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Choices, Choices, Choices! Downton Abbey Exhibit in the US.

I had read a bit about the Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibit at Winterthur in Delaware.  Daughter and I love this show.  Sunday nights in winter we are locked into the screen, during episodes last year Daughter was yelling at the TV.  We are obsessed with the show!!!!!

I know the exhibit is open until January 4th in Delaware.  But after that for a bit I was unsure if it was leaving the states, where its next showing is taking place. And through the magic of Google I found that the Biltmore in North Carolina will have an exhibit on Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times. Achhh!

The Biltmore exhibit is February 5 through May 25, 2014. From the Biltmore website “Biltmore announces a new exhibition, “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times,” opening February 5 and continuing through Memorial Day, May 25, 2015. Designed by Exhibits Development Group in cooperation with Cosprop Ltd., London, the exhibition features more than 40 costumes from the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey.”  The clothing will be showcased in rooms throughout Biltmore House in groupings inspired by the fictional show and by real life at Biltmore, the grand Vanderbilt estate of the same era.”

So what is the problem?  I was in the process of looking at flights to Delaware to see the Winterthur exhibit.  But then I started to read how the mansion is under going a rehab and under piles of green  canvas. From the sounds of it most of the exterior is covered.  This is not someplace I am likely to get again anytime soon so that is a little disappointing.  And lets face it, the Biltmore is on my list!  But I also think the Biltmore will have much larger crowds.

It breaks out like this….

Airfare to Baltimore: 192rt on Southwest.  2 nights at Country Inn and Suites is 0 (28,000 points).  Car rental for 2 days with Avis is $54.  Ticket to Winterthur is $20.  We are at $212 plus food, gas stuff that is needed for both trips regardless.

Airfare to Charlotte:  247rt on Southwest.  2 nights at Country Inn and Suites (28,000 points)  Car rental with Avis for 2 days is $96.  Ticket to Biltmore $39-69 depending on the date. This would be on a Saturday so I assume a higher price.   We are at $392+ gas, food, etc.

The trip to the Biltmore is almost going to be double for what looks like a very similar if not the same exhibit.  Both are items from Cosprop. I really would love to visit the Biltmore on any given day and Downton Abbey is a huge bonus!  Tough choices!

Here is the Biltmore information: http://www.biltmore.com/media/newsarticle/downton-abbey-costumes-at-biltmore

Here is the Winterthur information: http://www.winterthur.org/downtonabbey?src=hpslider1



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Club Carlson Points Redemption Offer – Save 25%

Now your points are extra-valuable. When you use your points to book an Award Night now through November 30, 2014, we’ll take 25% off the night points required.

Stretch your points even farther and book your next Award Stay using promotional ID POWERPTS at participating hotels.


This promo is great if you are redeeming for one night.  IF you have the credit card and get your second night free it does not work with this offer.  So great if you either do not have the credit card or are only redeeming for 1 night.


Here are the Florida participating hotels:
Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Port Canaveral, FL
Book Now, starting at 28,500 points

Park Inn by Radisson Resort & Conference Center Orlando
Book Now, starting at 11,250 points

Radisson Resort at the Port
Book Now, starting at 28,500 points

Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration
Book Now, starting at 28,500 points


The normal one night redemption rate for the Radisson Resort at the port is 38,000 points.


Here is the link for more information: http://www.clubcarlson.com/offers/8577654?ignore_mobi=true

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Allegan Antique Market

The Allegan Antique Market is winding down for 2014. There is one more show September on the 28th. If you have never had an opportunity to check the show out please come!  There is a great mix of industrial, vintage, primitives and painted items.


Admission is $4 and parking is free. Hours are 8am to 4pm.

Allegan County Fairgrounds
150 Allegan Co Fair Drive
Allegan, Michigan 49010


More information can be found here: http://www.alleganantiques.com/visitor-info.html


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Club Carlson Weekend Extender Promotion

You pay for two weekend nights, but you stay for three. Because every weekend should be just a little longer.

Book your three-day weekend using the promotional ID WEEKENDX for extended weekend stays at participating hotels now through November 30, 2014. Your stay must include a combination of either a Friday and Saturday night, or a Saturday and Sunday night.

If you follow this link it shows a list by state of participating hotels: http://www.clubcarlson.com/offers/8577635?ignore_mobi=true&s_cid=em.20140908.goldpointsplus.other.solo.rd.bus.preheader.bus3x.cta2&ep_mid=10979865&ep_rid=569245972

Here are the Florida locations:

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Jacksonville, FL

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Orlando Airport, FL

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Port Canaveral, FL

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Tampa Airport North, FL

Radisson Resort at the Port


We have stayed at both the Radisson Resort at the Port and the Country Inn and Suites Port Canaveral.  I would stay at either location again for a long weekend.  When I ran the promotion for the Radisson at the Port it looked like this:

Rates for: Fri Sep 26, 2014 to Mon Sep 29, 2014
Fri Sat Sun
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SPG Fall Promo – Double or Triple Points

Starwood Preferred Guest has a new fall promotion for double or triple points good through Dec 15, 2014.


Earn up to triple Starpoints with SPG More For You.

Make your weekend stays count with even more Starpoints®. Register for the SPG® More For You promotion to earn:

  • Double Starpoints on stays of two or more eligible nights
  • Triple Starpoints on eligible stays that include a Friday or Saturday night (Thursday or Friday night in the Middle East)

Register by October 31, 2014, and start earning more at over 1,000 participating Starwood hotels and resorts through December 15, ‬‬‬2014. Isn’t more amazing?‬‬‬‬‬

You can register here: https://www.spgpromos.com/moreforyou/?EM=VTY_SPG_MOREFORYOU_PROMOTION


Here is a list of properties that are NOT participating in the United States:

United States


  • Aloft Birmingham Soho Square


  • Aloft Cupertino
  • Four Points by Sheraton San Jose Downtown
  • Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort
  • Le Méridien San Francisco
  • Le Parker Méridien Palm Springs
  • Palace Hotel, San Francisco
  • Sheraton Agoura Hills Hotel
  • Sheraton Anaheim Hotel
  • Sheraton Cerritos Hotel
  • Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel
  • Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel
  • Sheraton San Jose Hotel
  • Sheraton Sunnyvale Hotel
  • The St. Regis San Francisco
  • The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles
  • The Westin Sacramento
  • The Westin San Francisco Market Street
  • The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
  • The Westin Verasa Napa
  • W Hollywood
  • W San Francisco


  • Walt Disney World Dolphin
  • Walt Disney World Swan


  • Le Méridien Atlanta Perimeter
  • Sheraton Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel
  • Sheraton Suites Galleria-Atlanta
  • The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North


  • Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
  • The Tremont Chicago Hotel at Magnificent Mile
  • The Westin Chicago River North
  • The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago
  • W Chicago – City Center


  • Sheraton Annapolis Hotel
  • The Westin Washington National Harbor


  • Aloft Lexington
  • Element Lexington
  • Le Méridien Cambridge-MIT
  • Sheraton Boston Hotel
  • Sheraton Colonial Boston North Hotel & Conference Center
  • Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center
  • Sheraton Needham Hotel
  • The Liberty Hotel, Boston
  • The Westin Boston Waterfront
  • The Westin Copley Place, Boston
  • The Westin Waltham Boston
  • W Boston


  • Sheraton Minneapolis West Hotel
  • The Westin Minneapolis

New Jersey

  • Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel
  • Sheraton Eatontown Hotel
  • Sheraton Parsippany Hotel
  • The Westin Governor Morris, Morristown
  • The Westin Jersey City Newport
  • The Westin Mount Laurel
  • The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village
  • W Hoboken

New York

  • Le Parker Méridien New York
  • Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel
  • The St. Regis New York
  • The Westin New York at Times Square
  • The Westin New York Grand Central
  • W New York
  • W New York – Downtown
  • W New York – Times Square
  • W New York – Union Square

North Carolina

  • Aloft Asheville Downtown
  • Aloft Chapel Hill
  • Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne


  • The Westin Portland


  • Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel

South Carolina

  • Sheraton Columbia Downtown Hotel


  • Aloft Nashville West End


  • Aloft Dallas Downtown
  • Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel and Spa
  • The Westin Austin at The Domain
  • The Westin Galleria Dallas
  • The Westin Oaks Houston at the Galleria
  • W Austin


  • Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center


  • Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Seattle Center
  • Sheraton Bellevue Hotel
  • Sheraton Seattle Hotel
  • The Westin Bellevue
  • The Westin Seattle
  • W Seattle




Categories: Discounts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Stopover in Sawyer Michigan

I stumbled upon a few small towns on my road trip around I94 in southwest Michigan.  Sawyer had a couple of the cutest shops that I will have to visit again.

Fashion for Green in the previous fire station and Go Fish across the street.


They have Catherine Doll Collage Clothing and other interesting items for sale.

More information can be found here: http://www.catherinedoll.com/where.htm


And Go Fish has the most wonderful collection of industrial for the home.  Outstanding!


I will be dropping by Go Fish every time I drive near Sawyer!

Go Fish is open Mon: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm,Thu – Fri: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm,Sat: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm and Sun: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm


This pic is from Go Fish Facebook page. I loved the blue cart color!




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Blackbird Crossings Vintage Market in Three Oaks

On a recent southern Michigan road trip I stumbled on the Black Bird Crossings Vintage Market. Its a little bit from I94 through Three Oaks but worth the drive!


The warehouse held several vendor inside and a few were scattered around the parking lot outside.


This will definitely be on my list of places to hit on the weekend. There was a great mix of industrial, vintage and home goods!

They page says “Monthly, May through October, we host a 4-day vintage shopping event. Our first event for 2014 is Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-26. Subsequent events will be Friday through Monday on the last weekend of the month. Each month, we will have fresh vintage items and a completely new look. Each Blackbird Crossing event will be a unique shopping experience!”

In 2014 they still will be open September 26 -29 and October 24-27.

16860 Three Oaks Rd, Three Oaks, MI 49128

More information can be found here: http://www.blackbirdcrossing.com/




Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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