Daniel Smith in Seattle, WA is always a must -stop for me whenever visiting the city. This huge art store carries almost everything that is needed for any artist.
I usually meandering through the paints as they seem to be cheaper here than other places, though "cheap" over here at Daniel Smith is still pricey. But that's the price you pay for quailty paints and supplies.
I truly support the leaning environment that is established in this place as there is always a class taking place in this establishment. It's good to see how different artists approach their work using a variety of tools and techniques. It only bolsters the sales as people readily look for such items when classes are over.
Daniel Smith also offers a discount for students, even if you are from out of town. As long as you have proof that you are a student, watch the savings come in. But for the rest of us, sales are always happening so we never feel left out.
This is a wonderful place for anybody who has a creative itch waiting to come out. All the tools are ready for that explosion to occur, and Daniel Smith's knowledgable and friendly staff will help point you in the right direction.
PROS: Great staff, lots of supplies, interesting classes
CONS: Can be pricey
The Cameo Motel has become a staple whenever visiting Portland. I've been frequenting this place ever since I was a kid whenever my family took trips to Portland. We often stayed here because of the close proximety to the Grotto which is just across the street.
The Cameo Motel is for convenience. Normally I don't mind motels but the idea of having the entire world peeking inside your room from the street is a bit unnerving. It didn't bother me before but over time I really started to cherish my privacy.
Luckily the Cameo is always kept in fantastic condition and always clean. A mini fridge is always in the room with a couple of queen sized beds and pullouts for those with larger groups. I find this better than most motels I have visited.
A small cafe is located beside the place and serve an incredible breakfast that will leave you more than satisfied.
Overall, this isn't a bad place to stay. Nothing too fancy, it's more for the budget minded traveller who just needs something convenient.
PROS: Clean, very affordable, the Grotto right across the street
CONS: It's just a motel, nothing too special
New York New York Hotel is not hard to miss with a replica of the Statue of Liberty greeting you above the hotel. That and a huge roller coaster ride that spreads all around outside the hotel.
This was purposely designed to be a family place as seen by the huge entertainment center complete with arcade and amusement park games complete with a fast-traveling roller coaster. The kids can have fun while the parents go on to play at the slots and tables.
As big as it may seem, the entire place actually feels small. The casino is an ample size with lots of activity. There is also a small jazz bar with a lounge singer for an relaxing evening away from the madness that happens outside.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that there IS a hotel in all this activity. There is also a nice skywalk to take you across the busy streets heading towards the Luxor.
New York New York is great for the entire family.
PROS: Huge roller coaster, amusement center, good for families
CONS: Nothing too special
Caesars Palace is one of the casinos that still has that vintage Las Vegas charm. It's probably one of the better well-known places on the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon entering one can't help but notice the moving sidewalks to talk you into the fray of things. This is great as its already a daunting task walking down the Strip in the sweltering heat of the desert sun.
And where do you end up? In one of the biggest shopping areas available on the Strip. Yes, besides being a hotel and casino, there is also a mini mall. "Mini" seems to be the inappropriate word to use.
Also, the entertainment throughout the place is hard to miss. From moving statues that talk to the Atlantis ride to a wonderful medieval feast, there is no short of things to do, besides gambling at the casino.
I appreciate that the casino is at the end of the trek. I also notice that it's also the exit. You have no choice but to make your way to the casino if you want to get out. Okay, maybe that's not entirely true but it sure seems to be designed in that fashion.
You can't go wrong with a trip to Caesars Palace and soak up some old time Vegas fun.
PROS: Moving sidewalks, great entertainment, lots of shopping
Upromise is a unique company dedicated to helping families save money for college tuition. This is the 401K plan for students which will help them tremendously for their post secondary education. And it's really easy to invest when participating retailers give back a percentage of what you spend to your account.
Enter your credit card information and grocery cards and watch the pennies add up from participating sponsors in the Upromise program. Shop online through the Upromise site at the various stores listed and receive a kickback. Dining out at various restaurants associated with this site will earn you up to 10% back. Maximize all of this by getting a Upromise credit card to earn your dollars faster than ever.
This is a wonderful program that you should join especially when your children are young. Even if you don't have children you can help a family member or friend through your contribution. You set the amount allocated to your child if you have more than one. And the best part is that you don't even realize you are saving money for your child's education.
This is a great investment with a wonderful staff to answer all your questions. Any money that can be saved for your child's education is worth more than gold.
PROS: Easier to use, great benefits for college education
Diamond Comic Distributors have been the cornerstone in the comic book world. Since its inception in 1982, Diamond has made it easier for specialty retailers to get not only comic books, but comic book related merchandise as well at wholesale prices.
Every week orders are delivered to comic book stores, mostly for Diamond comics, in order to ensure that weekly shipments are met with the demand that has been placed with them.
There are times when shipments are late, delayed or cancelled but that's the nature of the business when solicitation demands are not met.
Evrything Diamond Comic offers is to to make the life of comic book retailers easier and to make the comic book fans happy. This isn't an easy job week after week but somehow they have managed to succeed in all aspects.
PROS: The source for all comic books and related merchandise
CONS: Delays and lateness
Nike Town in Portland, OR is a must see for anyone traveling to that area. Located in downtown Portland, this store is immense in size and products. Everything Nike is in this store. I would be surprised if you couldn't find anything over here.
The store is divided into sections to make it easier for navigating your way through this big place. What makes this store unique is the layout that sucks you into this world without even knowing it.
And when you see the selections of shoes available to you, it will be hard to even walk away with only a couple of pair as you will want everything that you see.
The staff is friendly, always willing to lend a hand. Parking in downtown Portland can be an adventure but not impossible. In fact take the bus instead. It makes life easier.
PROS: Fabulous place to get everything Nike
Epinions is an online service dedicated to inform consumers about a variety of items that are good or bad to purchase. The catch is that these reviews are written buy consumers themselves. Why would people dedicate so much time to inform others?
The original incentive was a payout for these reviews. A member of Epinions would give his/her opinion on a given product and describe his/her expereince with it whether it be good or bad. Nowadays the payout isn't as big as it used to be years ago but something different has occurred... a sense of community has formed.
Based in Brisbane, CA, Epinions does still pay its members for writing reviews through a system called "Income Share". Each month, members receive a small amount of the income that comes into the site into their own account. The minimum payout in the US is $10.00 while international users have to wait till their account reaches $100.00.
As this company has grown over the years, so has the community as they have started to get involved with its members by rewarding them as they throw "Meet & Greet" gatherings throughout the United States.
The staff has been very dilligent and helpful throughout the years making Epinions a more viable place for consumer information.
PROS: Sense of community, great reviews
CONS: Payout is hard to reach unless you are in an elite status
WizKids Games is the home of the addicting HeroClix game system that has taken comic book and regular gamers by storm. The depiction of favourite comic book characters charged for gaming purposes is a marriage made in heaven and has attracted a legion of fans.
Since the inception of "HeroClix", this gaming company has been taken notice by everyone. They have taken the time to develop these games and make them better for playability. The fact that the next wave of HeroClix series always has everyone salivating is testament to what this company is offering to its fans.
Mailaway figures have become a huge event as these "limited edition" figures cannot be purchased anywhere else but at WizKids (or selected companies that distribute these figures). As a result their customer service has become very important. I have had no problems with this company at all which has all resulted to my customer satisfaction. I know that when I purchase anything from WizKids they will comply quickly and sufficiently.
Customer feedback is always important as well and they always give out surveys on each project that is released to see if the customers are satisified. The incentive to complete these surveys results in free giveaways which are randomly chosen. This is a great way to ensure that people are always interested in their prodcuts.
If you like comic book characters -- whether it be for gaming purposes, collecting, or both -- WizKids and HeroClix is a great place to start looking.
PROS: Great products, easy to use, lots of fun
CONS: Collecting is expensive
Skilljam operates an online gaming program that does exactly what its title suggest -- testing your skill at games. There is a trial period to see if you like the site as Skilljam offers you $6 in credit to try their games. If you wish to continue a minimum of $10 deposit is required and you are put against challengers of the same skill level.
There are 5 levels of play -- Beginner, Novice, Intermediate, Jam Master and Legend. Games include Tetris, Solitaire, Mah Jong, Bejeweled, Mini Golf, and so many others that ensure at least one of these games will become a favourite of yours. Here's the thing: you can win cash. The more you win, the more money you can make. And yes, they do pay out if you are worried about that. I have been paid over 10 times and done so in a reasonable amount of time of 14-21 days. The choice of payment is either by check or PayPal.
Customer service is very helpful when they do get around to answering your questions. It's easy to find the answers on the message boards from other players.
Skilljam isn't a quick rich scheme at all and you won't make millions. But if you enjoy playing online games this is the place to be.
PROS: Great games, lots of competitive fun
CONS: Sometimes it's hard to find someone to play against in your level