Rachael Ray Cooks Up Deals With Meals






Rachael Ray’s friend, Gretchen Monohan, is a source for what’s hot and new, and today she comes with items to make traveling during the holidays easier and less stressful,  and you can save up to 84%. 

From  travel size hair dryers, totes, foldable ballet flats, to lightweight rolling luggage, and more.  Check it out at the Rachael Ray Show.  While you are there, copy the great party cheese ball recipes–hot this holiday season!

If You Go To San Francisco, Be Sure To Wear~A Jacket!

As most of the nation lies sweltering in heat, MarkdownMom’s trip to San Francisco was a refreshing reminder of the ocean breeze of the Pacific that comes in the early evening to cool things down.

Another “cool” place this year is St.Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Last winter the polar vortex was raising havoc, but this summer with its’ return, spells nothing short of comfortable.  Visitors to the All Star Game from California and Florida really enjoyed the temperature change.  And if you want to experience traditional San Francisco weather, head 135 miles north to Duluth, Minnesota to experience the Northland’s San Francisco on the great inland sea, Lake Superior.  But don’t forget to wear your jacket; last night it was in the 40’s there!

Weekend Sales Review: Super Savings–Something For Everyone Including Football Tickets!

FYI:   Weekend Sales Review is updated throughout the weekend…

Sharper Image:  Electronic innovations for everyone in the family and every room in your house.  Technology to make your life easier, interesting, and healthy.  10% off everything.   TODAY ONLY 01/22/2010.  Offer expires at midnight.

4WD®Hardware:  Want to get your man away from the tube this weekend?  Tell him about this sale on Jeep parts & accessories.  Save 15% sitewide on selected Jeep products.  Sign up to win a Jeep, too.

Michaels.  Calling all crafters.  25% off  entire purchase this Sunday, 4-8 PM Coupons.  Part of their January Madness Sale.

Newport News.  Fashions and accessories.  Clearance under $25, pick your savings!  Save up to 85% off cold weather clearance items.

ShopNBC:  5 Value Pays on everything.    Part of their New Decade Weekend Celebration!

 J&R.   Over 100 weekend sale deals.  Play your tunes in style!

Luggage Online.  Free Shipping + Take 20% off  site-wide.  Here’s your chance to travel in style.

Ticket Network.  Save on $10 on $200 NFL Tickets, use promo code:  NFLSAVE10.  Special shows:  use promo code; BWAYSAVE10.

Cooking.com®.  Last chance to save up to 40% off Rachael Ray Exclusive Sets like roasting dishes a nd bakeware.  Prices good through January 31,2010.

Mikasa.  10% off clearance-4 days only.  Check out  their “ Deal of the Day,”  up to 80% off.

Coldwater Creek Outlet.  Up to 85% off everything in outlet.  Check out knit duster, boyfriend sweater without the sleeves.

Charles & Marie.  Specialty store with edgy and quirky items.  Up to 70% off Menu Sale.  Like a cell phone charger tray, reg.$50, menu sale $19.90-neat idea!

Island Cafe-An Inland Tropical Experience

Among the numerous house boats overlooking the Columbia River, there is a small, quaint floating restaurant located on Hayden Island, in Portland, Oregon. Entirely outdoors, patrons are seated at tables with straw-like tiki umbrellas and given a menu with a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages such as beer, margaritas, strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas (virgin and otherwise); delicious appetizers, such as shrimp with avocado and mango salsa dip; and main entrees ranging from battered foods like fish and chips, to fresh coastal dishes. Some of the tasty delectable treats on the menu include the fresh wild salmon burger, lobster salad wrap, and soft tacos filled with tropical mango salsa, cabbage, cheese and avocado.

While you sip on a frosty beverage awaiting the food, you will enjoy listening to the sound of the water hitting the dock, the gulls and ducks begging for scraps, and the background sound of the golden oldies and tropical music. In fact, a friend who joined me for lunch likened the atmosphere to Jimmy Buffett’s, Margaritaville !


250 NE Tomahawk Island Drive

Portland, OR 97217

(503) 283-0362

Website: http://www.islandcafepdx.com

Hours: 11am until sunset

Click Here to View Markdown Mom’s Island Café Slideshow

Best Buy Banana Cream Pie

If you ever journey through Wisconsin, be sure to make a stop at the Norske Nook Restaurant & Bakery. Located in Hayward, Osseo, Rice Lake, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin they have been blue ribbon winners at the National Pie Championship held in Celebration, Florida.

If you go there, be sure to sample their homemade pies especially the Banana Cream Pie. In Markdown Mom’s opinion this is the best banana cream pie she has ever bought. A slice of pie will run you $3.95, and a whole pie $21.95 (11 inches) plus a one time deposit fee on the pan (if you bring it back). MDM recommends that if there are 2 or more of you, order the whole pie because even with such large pieces, you will want more.

Wednesdays are Pie Day and you can get a slice of the featured pie and a cup of coffee for $2.49. Tuesdays, seniors 55+ get 10% off. They also have a Pie Club, get your card stamped when you purchase a whole pie and after 7 you get one free! If you love pie, and who doesn’t, you must make this a stop on your list when in Wisconsin.

If you have a special pie place, let us know at Markdown Mom so we can share it.

Holiday Gifts Under $20

Lands’ End® carries some great markdowns in their "On The Counter" department of their Overstocks.  New markdowns are listed every Saturday and further discounted through the week or until stock is gone.  Markdown Mom found this pair of stain released twill trousers for your favorite guy in Sky Blue, sizes 34-44, reg.$54.00 steal $7.50 Plus get free shipping until 10PM CST on Monday, December 3rd. Enter in Source code:  CASHMERE and 528152815!

Thinking about a Holiday vacation to warmer climate?   The Company Store® has this great beach mat that is so much more than a towel.  Cotton covered foam for added comfort with a removable pillow can be rolled up for easy storage and carrying, reg. $45.00 steal $10.99.

Did you know that Nordstrom has great buys under $30? Jewelry, apparel, shoes and more for under $30–no kidding!

For instance, everyone, just everyone was wearing Crocs™ when Markdown Mom visited Florida this past year and at the Mall of America, these sporty shoes were and still are de riguer despite cold weather–just add socks.  And who can go wrong at this price, reg. #29.90, steal $19.90!

5 Star Hotel, Is It Worth The Money? Maybe Not

Restaurateurs and hoteliers constantly are in the improvement mode, either to capture a 5 Star rating, or to maintain that coveted classification.  However, for the consumer even a 5 star rating cannot insure against some pitfalls.  In the past, criteria for ranking was somewhat uniformed since there was a limited number of agencies evaluating the hotels, namely AAA, Mobil Travel Guide, and, of course, the well-known Michelin for international hotels.  Now, there are a number of new ranking agencies and criteria for ranking is not standardized.  MDM recently was a guest at one of these 5 star hotels and  found several pitfalls that you normally would not expect from an establishment with a prestigious ranking.

Although we had confirmed reservations, a mix-up resulted in the first two days being spent at another hotel–which they did assist in booking.  However, when we did arrive, our booking was changed for the first night, upgraded admittedly, but for one night, which meant moving at 5 PM the next day to another room for the remainder of our stay.  The lateness of the move meant that we missed our ride to our dinner arrangements and had to take a hotel limo instead for an additional cost.  Housekeeping was particularly abusive since their schedule for cleaning and our schedule were not one and the same.  Therefore, we were met with great sighs and tut-tuts from the housecleaning personnel.

Another pitfall of this establishment and others as MDM found out and also reported by Consumer Reports® are the hidden hotel fees.

1. $4 per bottle water.  Especially egregious since  often it is advisable not to drink the water.  At least, we found we were not the only ones that eventually imported a case of water from the local Wal-Mart.

2.  Daily newspaper (automatically charged to your room and a fee you can only prevent by being proactive and canceling it at the front desk).  In lesser rated establishments a daily newspaper is en gratis.

3.  Of course, there is the minibar restocking fees which can run $2.50 and up,   If you get a munchies attack, scavenge from the local stores and stock-up.

4.  In-room safes.  Again, often a freebie with economy establishments, this can be an additional fee charged to your room.

5.  Amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts, may carry an additional daily charge even if you do not use them.

6.  Baggage storage.  Because MDM did not retrieve her luggage quick enough due to the room mix-up, the bags were stored by the hotel for 30 minutes with a $20 fee.  Yowie!!!

7.  Internet access was available for $14 per day.  Also, the much touted business center was a closet with computers and billing machine to take your credit card for its use.

8.  Package delivery fees.  Have an overnight FedEx package being received you may have to pony up $2.50-$5.00 for the hotel to take receipt of it.

9.  Tips for the staff.  Valet parking can run $5-$10 each time they get your car and return it.  Other establishments may include tip fees each day into your bill similar to a VAT.

10.  Shuttle Service.  Not always available and occasionally at an additional cost, especially if the airport is any distance from the hotel.

Some of these fees you would expect for budget accommodations, but for a 5 Star Hotel, it seems very tacky to nickel and dime the guests with these additional fees.  MDM recommends that you check further into any accommodations that you reserve and remember not to let ratings be your single criteria in making your reservations. You can cut your costs by providing your own paper, water, goodies and so forth, but then again you may feel like your camping out rather than having a relaxing, luxurious experience.

Tip of the Week#26 How To Negotiate Lower Hotel/Motel Rate$

If you follow MDM’s tips on how to lower your airfare and get the best deal, you could lose any savings on hotel/motel accommodations.  However, with a little planning you could save 100’s, if not more on your hotel/motel rates following these easy steps:

1.  Check online for the prevailing rate for the hotel/motel you wish to stay at; however, do not book your accommodations online. 

2. To make reservations place a phone call to the specific hotel/motel.   It is easier to change reservations and negotiate rates by phone especially if you are staying for more than one night at that location.

3.  Can you do better than the quoted rate?  This is a "must" question to ask the motel clerk.  You must negotiate the lower rate prior to arriving at the hotel/motel because once there, you’re stuck!

4.  If the answer to a better rate is "No," don’t be hesistant to ask to speak to the manager.  However, if the first day of your planned stay is almost completely booked, don’t be hesistant to negotiate a deal on the remainding days of your stay.  One friend of MDM’s was not able to get a lower rate for the first night’s stay since there were only 3 vacancies available, but lowered the next day by $25.

5.  If you are a member of AARP or AAA, after you negotiate the price and before arriving, give them your card number for a further discount.  Also, if they have a reward system–say one free night after x amount of nights, be sure to ask before leaving and get credited for your stay.

Simple Steps To Saving $$$ 

Win $50,000 Toward Your Trip Of A Lifetime

MDM knows your passion is traveling.  So she wanted to tell you about your chance to win a $50,000 dream vacation getaway from The Travel Channel in The Text To Travel Sweepstakes.

Cross a few places off that list of 1,000 to see!  For some travel ideas, check out The Travel Channel’s website and don’t miss 1,000 Places To See Before You Die on The Travel Channel!  Hurry this contest ends April 19th, open to all 18 years and older!

Happy Travels!

Just in Time for Spring Break: Spirit Airlines’ one-day 1¢ sale. Yes, only $0.01 Each Way!

Airline Sale 

Book a flight for $0.01 Each Way. Spirit airlines has many flights for just $0.01 each way. Check out their deals page to see all fares offered at this amazing low price. Last time I checked, I found over 250 routes offered at this low price.

– Detroit to Las Vegas.
– Tampa to Atlantic City.

One day only.  Book before 10:59 PM on 03/07/07 (Central Standard Time)

Booking instructions:

For more information and to book this deal, see Spririts’ Flight Deals Page.

Spirit Airlines

Hurry, this sale lasts one day only. Many routes are on sale for only 1¢ each way!

Rub your eyes if you need to, but we can assure you that this is the real deal. Spirit Airlines just announced that it has lowered many fares up to 40%. As part of this sale, Spirit Airlines is offering fares as low as 1¢* each way. See the sample fares below. Book your 1¢* each-way fare before 11:59 pm ET on Wednesday, March 7, 2007.

Fares are each way, based on round-trip purchase; round-trip travel is required and these fares can be combined with any other Spirit Airlines’ everyday fare.

These sale fares are extremely limited and will sell out fast. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by — book now!