Tips for Oregon Outlet Shopping

I’m not much of a shopper, probably because I’m inherently frugal and I get depressed when I can’t immediately find stuff in my size.

That aversion to shopping didn’t apply when my family and I dropped by the Woodburn Premium Outlets in Woodburn, Oregon on our drive back to Washington State from California during our US vacation.

Oregon Outlet Shopping

Oregon currently enjoys a 0% sales tax statewide, a blessed trait it shares only four other states: Alaska, Delaware, Montana and New Hampshire.

Little wonder, then, that Oregon is one of the US’ prime shopping destinations.

Woodburn Premium Outlets, in particular, is conveniently located off Interstate 5 between Portland and Salem. It is the largest tax-free outlet mall in the western part of the US, with over 100 stores which include premium brands such as Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Forever 21, Michael Kors, Nike, and more. Aside from the 0% sales tax, shoppers can enjoy additional discounts from clearance sales and in-store promos. Shopaholics and even us frugal shoppers will definitely find great deals and savings here.

Oregon Outlet Shopping

As with most destinations and especially if you’re a budget traveller like me, it’s best to have a plan when shopping at Woodburn Premium Outlets. Here are some tips that served our family well in maximizing our Oregon shopping opportunity.

One: Do your homework.

Check out Woodburn Premium Outlets website – – to scope out available merchandise and ongoing promos. You can also consult the site for a map of the outlets as well as dining options within the mall.

Two: Arrive early.

The fam discovered that it’s actually best to arrive as soon as the mall opens. The items are freshly and neatly arranged in their racks or shelves and you can easily spot and check out on limited-stock items.

Also, you will have more time to check in with your family and friends from back home on their bilins. Take advantage of the free Wi-fi in most stores to send your nears-and-dears pictures of their requested item in the store before you buy it for them.

Three: Divide and conquer.

One hundred plus stores are a lot to cover. So split up: those with kids can go straight to Disney Outlet Store or Osh Kosh B’gosh; those shopping for clothes can head on to Calvin Klein, Forever 21 or American Eagle Outfitters; the ones on the lookout for bags and shoes can look no farther than Naturalizer or Coach; while those looking for housewares can hie off to Corelle. This way, your group can cover more ground in less time.

Four: Dress comfortably.

With over 380,000 square feet of retail space to cover, you might want to make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Plus, expect to do a lot of fittings so wear something you cab fit clothes over or can easily be taken off in the fitting room.

Five: Be on the lookout for in-store deals.

The 0% sales tax already affords you with great savings but guess what, you can take advantage of in-store promos (such as buy one, get one at 50% off, etc.) for additional discounts of up to 65% off.

Don’t forget to scour the clearance racks! I scored a couple of hard-to-look-for boot-cut jeans at American Eagle Outfitters for USD19.99 (Php1,053) which would have cost me close to Php2,000 back home. And to think I was originally looking at a pair of jeans priced at USD59!

Also, upon checkout, the cashier may ask you for your email address or US phone number in exchange for additional discounts. I’m generally with this as I already have an email address dedicated to sales promotions.

Oregon Outlet Shopping

Woodburn Premium Outlets is located at 1001 Arney Road, Woodburn, OR 97071-8447, open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 9pm and Sundays from 10am to 7pm. Special mall hours may apply during holidays.

For more details, visit its website.

How to let go of Game of Thrones

And so here we are.

After nearly a decade of watching its weekly installments, following the travails of its lead characters, and agonizing over the minutest detail to form our own theories (tin-foil or otherwise), we are down to one final episode of Game of Thrones.

While the finale of the series of this phenomenal TV hit show is one of the year’s most anticipated event, avid GOT fans may have some trouble saying goodbye to their Sunday primetime habit.

So, in preparation for the finale episode, here are five coping methods I will be employing to deal with all my feels and finally bid my favorite TV show farewell.

(Oh, in case it isn’t immediately apparent, there will be spoilers in the post.)

One: Remember the good times.

Yeah, GOT and me had us some good times.

Remember when Dany emerged unscathed from the flames of Drogo’s funeral pyre, and again after burning the khals’ tent (along with those mysogynistic khals) in Vaes Dothrak?

Or the one when Sansa pays Ramsay Bolton back for all the cruelties dealt to her by feeding him to his beloved hounds?

How about the time Arya proclaimed to House Frey that the North remembers and that winter came for them? And the most epic one yet: when she stuck the pointy end to the Night King?

Those were the times when I gave loud hoots of cheering and slow claps to the protagonists, the times when I felt that a show that routinely kills off lead characters can’t be so bad.

Two: Learn from the bad times.

I don’t about you but Ned Stark’s death left me so traumatized that I swore off the show for some time. (Well, as you can surmise, I eventually found my way back.)

At the start of the series, most of us thought that the protagonist was the honor-driven Warden of the North. While his sense of honor is something to aspire to, he was easily defeated by those who were willing and smart enough to play the game of thrones.

Oh, and if I’m in an enclosed space and I hear the opening strains of “The Rains of Castamere,” I would know enough to get the hell out.

Three: Express your pain.

Aside from snacks and drinks, I already readied a box of tissues for the finale airing. And fortunately, I’m on vacation so I won’t have to face my coworkers and other aspects of my daily life so soon after the finale. I will have time to scour social media for memes and reactions to the show before I go back to my daily grind.

Four: Share the load with your friends.

A problem shared is a problem halved, so they say. If the problem is the end of your favorite show, get together with your fellow GOT fans, diss on D&D for all the things they got wrong in the show (and praise them for all they got right), re-enact your favorite scenes, and basically, just be with the people who understand what you’re going through.

Five: Look forward to new and better things.

Take heart: the world of Westeros will not fade away into the murky mists of your memory anytime soon. A pilot for a spin-off series set during the Age of Heroes, thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, is in the works.

If the prospect of discovering the true origin of the White Walkers, the beginnings of the legendary Starks of Winterfell and the exotic mysteries of Essos won’t appeal to you, I don’t know what will.

So there you have it: a survival kit for the impending end of Game of Thrones. I hope it serves you well in the days to come… at least until the next pop culture phenom comes along. 🙂

And if you’re not yet ready to let go, you can still re-watch your favorite episodes. (I won’t judge, I promise.).

All Game of Thrones episodes from Season 1 to 8 are now available for streaming on HBO Go, exclusively available to SKYcable subscribers.

Based on the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” by George R.R. Martin, this hit Emmy®-winning fantasy series chronicles an epic struggle for power in a vast and violent kingdom. Members of the ensemble cast for the seventh season included Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams. Season seven credits: executive producers, David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger, Bernadette Caulfield; co-executive producers, Bryan Cogman, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis, George R.R. Martin.

HBO GO is HBO’s online streaming service that enables subscribers to watch and enjoy the world’s best movies, HBO Originals and more through the website or the mobile app. Subscription to the service also gives SKY subscribers free access to cable channels – HBO Hits, HBO Family, and HBO Signature.  To register your SKY account and subscribe to HBO GO, visit

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Check out my other recent posts on Game of Thrones:

Pizza takeaway at Pagliacci Pizza, Lake Forest Park, WA

For my family’s second night in the Evergreen State, and knowing that my little boy is a certified pizza monster, my bro decided to just take out some pizzas for dinner.

And his choice for pizzas? Pagliacci Pizza!

First opened in the University District in 1979 by an Italian family who just “wanted a place where we can get good pizza,” it eventually grew into a place where people gather for a good pizza meal.

It is also among the first restaurants in the area to make strides in growing greener by composting in its kitchens and dining areas, as well as ensuring that most of the packaging it uses are either conpostable or recyclable. Its operations also uses green power sourced from renewable energy sources in the Pacific Northwest.

Pagliacci Pizza, Seattle

Pagliacci Pizza, Seattle

Pagliacci Pizza, Seattle

However, Pagliacci Pizza’s claims to fame are the pizzas it serves which make imaginative use of local and seasonal ingredients to come up with specialty flavors and variants.

To satisfy the pizza cravings of everyone in the group, my bro took home:

The Original (USD13.99 for 11″). Pagliacci’s signature cheese pizza made with whole-milk mozzarella and our seasoned tomato sauce on hand-tossed dough, baked on bricks. This is perfect for my little boy (who’s crazy about all-cheese pizzas).

Pagliacci Pizza, Seattle

Extra Pepperoni (USD24.99 for 17″). A blanket of pepperoni covers a layer of mozzarella and Pagliacci’s seasoned tomato sauce.

Pagliacci Pizza, Seattle

Parma Primo (USD29.99 for 17″). A layer of prosciutto, mushrooms, goat cheese, mozzarella over olive oil, and finished with tomatoes and basil after done baking. Then flavors of the prosciutto and goat cheese go well together and are further enhanced by the earthy taste of the mushrooms and the fresh flavors of the basil leaves.

Pagliacci Pizza, Seattle

Well, we can definitely say that our pizza cravings are satisfied! My little boy, in particular, happily wolfed down his cheese pizza slices.

Pagliacci Pizza, Seattle

This Pagliacci Pizza outlet is located at 20059 Ballinger Way, Northeast, Lake Forest Park, 98155, open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight.

Other branches are located at:

  • Ballard (85th Street): 851 NW 85th St.Seattle, WA 98117
  • Broadway: 426 Broadway East, Seattle, WA 98102
  • Capitol Hill (Miller St): 2400 10th Ave. E, Seattle, WA 98102
  • Columbia City: 4901 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
  • Fremont (Stone Way): 4003 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103
  • Lake City Way: 8024 15th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98115
  • Edmonds: 10200 Edmonds Way,Edmonds, WA 98020
  • Madison: 3015 E Madison Street, Seattle, WA 98112
  • Magnolia: 1614 W Dravus Street, Seattle, WA 98119
  • Greenwood (145th Street): 315 N 145th St., Seattle, WA 98133
  • Queen Anne: 550 Queen Anne Ave North, Seattle, WA 98109
  • Sand Point: 6224 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
  • West Seattle: 4449 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
  • Bridle Trails: 13005 NE 70th Place, Kirkland, WA 98033
  • Juanita: 11640 98th Ave. NE, Kirkland, WA 98034
  • Crossroads: 15238 Bel-Red Road, Bellevue, WA 98007
  • Kenmore: 6504 NE Bothell Way, Kenmore, WA 98028
  • Old Bellevue (Main Street): 8-100th Ave. NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
  • Mercer Island: 3077 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island , WA 98040
  • Sammamish: 22830 NE 8th St, Sammamish, WA 98074

For deliveries, call 206 7261717 or 425 4531717.

Pagliacci Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out the other restos I’ve tried in the Washington state area:

Enjoying the wind, waves and wildlife at Cannon Beach, OR

The weekend before the fam’s epic road trip to San Francisco, my bro took us to see the beauty of the Oregon Coast, particularly the Cannon Beach area.

It is nearly four miles of publicly accessible fine-sand beaches with a huge rock formation called Haystack Rock rising out 235 feet from the shore’s edge. It was formed 17 millions years ago by the same lava flows that created many of the headlands and rock formations that make up the Oregon Coast. We were fortunate that it was easily accessible during our visit due to low tide.

Cannon Beach, OR

Haystack Rock is actually a National Wildlife Refuge where visitors can observe tidepools teeming with marine life. Tidepool creatures such as soft-bodied anemones, tidepool fishes and sea slugs are interesting to look at but are extremely fragile and may be senstive to exposure to air and sun. Visitors are advised to refrain from touching or moving the creatures they encounter in the tidepools.

How do you catch sight of these creatures? Here are some tips from the locals:

  • Be patient. You may need to take some time to see them.
  • Be still. Crabs, small fish, snails and see slugs nestled under rocks and seaweed may not be immediately visible.
  • Be careful. Walk on the sand or bare rock to avoid stepping on and harming living creatures like barnacles and mussels.

Haystack Rock is also an active nesting spot for many seabirds. Tufted puffins, in particular, are easily observable from spring to summer.

During quieter seasons, herds of Roosevelt Elk are sometimes known to emerge from the thick forests to graze along the coastal meadows, while Gray Whales make their annual migration.

Cannon Beach, OR

The wide expanse of sand also makes a great venue for jogging, walking with dogs, or just hanging out with family or friends.

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Well, our group certainly took advantage of the photo opps that the place afforded!

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Interested in visiting? Here are other attractions nearby that you may want to include in your itinerary:

  • Ecola State Park. It boasts of easy walking paths, hiking trails and picnic areas, brrathtaking views of the historic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and vantage areas for bird- and whale-watching.
  • Arcadia Beach. Located two miles south of Cannon Beach, it offers beach access to Lion Rock and beach walks to Hug Point to the south and Silver Point to the north.
  • Oswald West State Park. Stretching four miles along a temperate rainforest, this affords visitors with a picturesque secluded sandy beach and hiking trails that lead to awesome views of the Pacific Ocean.

For more details or help in planning your visit to Cannon Beach, visit

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen: A rediscovery of sisterhood and magic

Two sisters grappling about their magical heritage, seeking acceptance from the other inhabitants of their small town. After years apart, they reunite, discover and appreciate their true selves while coming to terms with their past and win true love in the process.

In Sarah Addison Allen’s debut novel Garden Spells, magical realism, heartwarming romance and small-town sensibility combine to bring to life the warm and engaging story of sisters Claire and Sidney Waverly. Brought back to their ancestral house in Bascom, North Carolina by their mother after a life on the road, they grew up feeling isolated from their neighbors.

Claire, the older and “plainer” sister, took comfort in her magical talent with plants and cooking and builds a successful career as a caterer.

  • Sidney, on the other hand was seemingly blessed with beauty but without magical talent. She ran away and lived a life on the road until she returns with her daughter trying to escape an abusive relationship.
  • Together with their elderly cousin, Evanelle, their love interests, their supportive neighbors, their town rivals, and with the help of the enchanted apple tree that their family has been tending for centuries, the sisters discover their innate powers and their place in their small town.

    The book’s style and structure bear similarities to other works in women’s literature that feature magical realism. With Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, it shares the plot element of two very different sisters reuniting and finding love in their small town after years apart. Like Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, on the other hand, it features the effects of food on people susceptible to magical ingredients.

    I picked up this book during a booksale two years ago and only found time to read it when I brought it with me on a trip. I find the book’s humor and homey feel very endearing, and its lesson on self-acceptance quite relevant. This book is a great for a bit of light and easy reading.

    I look forward to reading Addison’s recently released sequel titled First Frost set a few years after Garden Spells. In this novel, the Waverly girls have grown into their magical abilities while facing their daily struggles. One day, an unexpected stranger appears in their little town with a sinister intent.

    Other works by Sarah Addison Allen include:

    Lost Lake. Sometimes you find the things you’ve lost in the most unexpected places. But sometimes you find them exactly where you left them. Welcome to magical Lost Lake, Georgia.

    The Girl Who Chased the Moon. Emily Benedict is about to find out if wallpaper can change pattern on its own, if a cake can bring back a lost love, and if there really is a ghost dancing in her back yard.

    The Sugar Queen. Imagine a world where the color red has startling powers and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. Welcome to snowy Bald Slope, North Carolina. There’s magic behind every closet door.

    The Peach Keeper. Welcome to Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

    Waking Kate. Over a cup of butter coffee, Kate’s neighbor tells her a story of love and heartbreak that makes her remember her past, question her present, and wonder what the future will bring.

    The Firefly Dance. Addison anchors this anthology with her funny novella about Louise, a North Carolina girl whose keen observations of the lives around her weaves an unforgettable spell with just a hint of everyday magic.

    For more details or to buy any of these books on, simply click on the titles or the cover images.

    Book details taken from Sarah Addison Allen’s website and

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    What to teach kids about traveling

    Traveling is a rewarding activity for many of us. Going to unfamiliar places broadens our horizons by exposing us to novel experiences, diverse cultures and to new friends.

    It can be more so for kids; taking them on out adventures into the wider world affords us opportunities to teach them lessons that will prove valuable to them in the future, not just when they venture out on their own trips, but as they go through their daily life.

    Here are some of the lessons that you can impart to your kids as you go on the road.

    One: How to travel light.

    There is a limit to what you can take with you as you move from one place to another. Whether it depends on what your body can carry or the luggage capacity of your means of transportation, this limit forces you to prioritize which of your possessions will be of most use to you as you travel.

    You will need to guide your little ones as they pick and choose items for the trip such as clothes that are easy to clean, those that don’t take up much space in your luggage and their essential toiletries.

    Two: How to keep themselves entertained.

    Not every moment you spend traveling will be exciting or interesting. You can expect downtimes when you can either rest or find a way to occupy your time.

    The little ones may get antsy or bored during long wait periods or while in transit. So it would be wise to plan ahead with them on how they can keep themselves entertained while still packing light. They will need to leave behind their bulky game consoles in favor of easy-to-carry books, a pack of cards, and, with your permission of course, mobile electronics.

    Traveling Kid

    You can also take the opportunity to point out the sceneries you’re passing through or fill them in on the places where you’re going to drum up their excitement or spike their interest.

    Three: How to discover on their own.

    Some kids are adventurous by nature. They will want to strike out on their own. Nurture this inclination by helping them identify interesting places where they can safely venture out by themselves such as parks or play areas, with you keeping yourself easily accessible to them should they need you.

    Of course, you will need to equip for their quest. Teach them to read maps and road signs, agree on places where they can meet up with you and point out places they can go to in case they need help.

    Traveling Kid

    Four: How to keep themselves safe.

    Foremost among our concerns as parents is the safety of our kids. When traveling, little ones should be instructed to always stay near or within your sight, to be wary of strangers and to keep your contact details handy so that they can ask someone to get in touch with you should you get separated.

    Five: How to stay on budget.

    A big consideration in traveling is, of course, our budget. There may be times when the things you want to buy or the activities you want to experience may be beyond your means. Usually, you prioritize those that are more affordable or you limit yourself to those that are essential to your travel experience.

    Similarly, you need to help your kids understand that they won’t be able to buy all their hearts’ desires during the trip. You can negotiate with them on which purchases you can afford that they can still enjoy.

    Six: How to be good guests.

    Remember, no matter which place you visit, you are basically visitors there. You and the kiddies should therefore behave as good guests. Aside from being polite to the people that you meet, you would also need to brush up on the basics of local customs so as not to offend anyone.

    Traveling Kid

    Furthermore, it is important to respect the local environment by following their conservation laws and cleanliness practices. As the famous quote among travellers goes:

    Leave nothing but footprints.

    Take nothing but pictures.

    Kill nothing but time.

    Seven: How to be thankful.

    Not everyone has the means and opportunity to travel. It is therefore important for the kids to realize and appreciate the fact that they are able to.

    For me, the best way to be thankful for opportunities such as these is to make the most of them in terms of learning and enjoyment.

    Planning a trip with the kiddies any time soon? Do share your tips for traveling with kids.

    An immersive coffee experience at Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Seattle, WA is the birthplace of Starbucks. My love affair with this coffee brand is well-known among my nears-and-dears (and well-documented on this blog, too!)

    Well, on my second visit to the Evergreen State, this time with my family in tow, I made sure to drop by the mecca for coffee lovers right here in Seattle: the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

    Located just nine blocks from Starbucks’ original store near the Pike Place Market, it is one of the largest Starbucks outlets in the world, occupying 15,000 square feet of space, all dedicated to the company’s pursuit of coffee innovations.

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Here, visitors can look forward to a unique and immersive combination of coffee experiences, such as witnessing the on-site brewing of rare Starbucks Reserve coffees, tasting an ever-evolving beverage menu, watching, tasting and learning eight distinct coffee preparation methods, perusing an expansive library of coffee-related tomes, and chatting with a staff of Certified Starbucks Coffee Masters who simply love talking about their craft.

    The experience starts in the Main Bar where you can order your cup of choice or allow the Coffee Masters to recommend a perfect handcrafted drink for you, made with the store’s freshly roasted, rare coffee beans.

    Here, the kids and I enjoyed 12oz glasses of Cold Brew Malt, a treat from my bro. This drink is a thick malted milkshake made with Starbucks’ cold brew coffee spindle-blended with Mora’s vanilla ice cream and chocolate bitters.

    Bro-in-law, on the other hand, a Matcha Teavana Tea Latte, one of the store’s non-coffee drinks.

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Next, at the Scooping Bar, a Coffee Master can advise you on which Starbucks Reserve coffee best suits your taste and you can take home a freshly scooped bag.

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    At the Handpicked at the Roastery, your inner Starbucks fan can truly come out and play. With a plethora of carefully curated merchandise from Starbucks’ artisan partners, from coffee-brewing equipment from all over the world, coffeeware ranging from quaint-kitschy to posh and wearables that proudly announce your love for coffee, you can take a piece of Starbucks home with you.

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    At the Mixology Bar, get a shot or two of signature cocktails and spirit-free drinks inspired by Starbucks Reserve coffee and Teavana teas. I’ll probably return here – sans the little one – for a more spirited coffee experience.

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks partnered with Rocco Princi to bring a taste of the Spirito di Milano to its customers. At Princi, you can treat yourself to artisan breads, freshly baked pastries and pizzas, as well as delectable desserts which are best enjoyed with your cup of Starbucks Reserve coffee.

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Want to get lost in your own coffee story? Head on to the Experience Bar where you can go on themed coffee tasting flights, guided tours by Starbucks’ Coffee Masters where exploratory brew methods and immersive storytelling will only deepen your love for your favorite brews.

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    For a bookworm like me, the Coffee Library is a destination in itself. Climb up the steps so you can pore over 200-plus books dedicated to coffee. It also offers a great view of the entire roasting operation.

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

    A trip to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is always a worthwhile activity for coffee lovers who find themselves in Seattle. I plan to return before my trip ends to have a more leisurely journey across the bars and stations.

    This Starbucks Reserve Roastery is located at 1124 Pike Street, Seattle, WA, 98101, open daily from 7am to 11pm. For more details, call (206)624-0173 or visit

    Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Check out my previous posts on Starbucks:

    Check out the other restos I’ve tried in the Washington state area: