SMART SIDE HUSTLE IDEAS

 

According to Portland-based author and entrepreneur, Chris Guillebeau:

"A side hustle isn't just nice. It's necessary." 

What is a side hustle?

A side hustle is a project or business that brings you extra money, apart from your day job. For many successful side hustlers, it has the potential to eventually replace traditional work - but it doesn't have to. It can simply be an additional source of income, providing you an outlet to develop skills and use your creativity.

When job security gets unpredictable, or your work no longer meets your needs - whether mentally or financially, it's a good idea to have something going on the side. A side hustle reduces your vulnerability to job loss and gives you options if you ever want to change directions with work.

Starting a side hustle is low risk. You don't have to quit your job to start one. You can begin small and build it up over time. Today's online tools have opened a lot of doors for solopreneurs and side hustlers. If it doesn't work out, all you'll really lose is your time - but you'll probably gain valuable experience and skills along the way. 

Get ideas for your own side hustle

There's a new, free resource available to anyone who wants to start a side hustle. Launched in January 2017, Chris Guillebeau is now producing a daily podcast called Side Hustle School. Each day he shares a profitable side hustle story from the real world, breaking down the strategies that led them to success, with actionable take-aways that can be applied to your own situation. 

Side Hustle School podcast episodes include stories like:

  • College Lecturer Makes Money By Helping Other Instructors Teach Better
  • How One Man Used A $100 Microphone To Make Over $8,000
  • “AIRBNB For Dogs”: Woman Hosts Pets At Her Home For $200/Day
  • 17-Year Old Canadian Makes $7,000 From Holiday Pop-Up Shop
  • PE Teacher Makes $11,000 With Membership Site

The ideas range from ordinary to outlandish from every business niche you can imagine. And the success stories include projects bringing in a little extra pocket money to businesses that sky-rocket to six figures.

The concise, info-driven episodes are great for getting your entrepreneurial creativity flowing and for learning practical strategies to start your own side hustle. You can start enjoying the daily podcast here: https://sidehustleschool.com/podcasts.

 

 

 

4 BENEFITS OF WHEELED LAPTOP BAGS

Stafford Pro rolling laptop bag in black

Stafford Pro rolling laptop bag in black

At Clark & Mayfield, we offer a variety of tech-friendly bags for women. Each style meets a different need. Our cross-body bags are perfect for protecting tablets and e-readers. Women who want the style of a purse that can comfortably carry a laptop, will find a variety of suitable handbags in our collection.

Last but not least, our designs also include rolling laptop bags. Here's why the rolling laptop bag might benefit you: 

Rolling laptop bags are spacious. Each of our rolling bags are at least 17 inches and can fit large laptops and hefty multi-media equipment. On top of that, they're full of useful pockets for all your other belongings.

Carry a heavier load. These laptop bags have a sturdy light-weight frame to accommodate heavy tech, books, etc. They can be carried by hand, but you'll save strain on your back, shoulders, and fingers by rolling it instead. Just extend the handle and you're good to go.

Double up with another bag. Thanks to the extension handle, you can set a smaller bag on top of the wheeled roller. Or, if you're traveling with a larger suitcase, use the slip strap to slide the laptop bag securely over the handle of another rolling bag!

Be versatile. Wheeled laptop bags are truly multi-functional. Use them as a rolling briefcase for meetings, a carry-all for conferences, an overnight bag for short trips, or as carry-on luggage you can store overhead in the airplane.   

Hawthorne leather wheeled rollers in red, black, blue

Hawthorne leather wheeled rollers in red, black, blue

WHERE'S MY BAG: MERIDA, MEXICO

The author with her C&M Stafford laptop bag

The author with her C&M Stafford laptop bag

The “Where’s My Bag?” series highlights Clark & Mayfield bags in interesting locations around the world. This is a guest post by Michelle C. of IntentionalTravelers.com. Michelle and her husband are "digital nomads," running their business online as they travel. Michelle shares about some of the destinations she's visited with her Clark & Mayfield bag in tow.

Mérida, Mexico

Mérida, Mexico is a popular travel destination in the Yucatan peninsula for Mexican vacationers and foreign tourists alike. The city has a rich cultural life, with frequent community events and dining for both budget and luxury travelers. Many tourists use Mérida as a base to visit nearby archeological sites, cenotes (underground rivers), and beaches.

Why We Went

We decided to stay in Mérida for three weeks at the start of the year, thanks to a recommendation from some well-traveled friends. We were impressed with the many cultural events, colorful exterior walls and secret interior courtyards, grand colonial buildings, affordable eateries, and proximity to Mayan ruins.

Although it was "winter," temperatures still reached the high 90's on occasion, but most days were pleasantly warm - a welcome relief from the snow storms taking place back home in the Northwest!

Getting some work done in the courtyard of Cafe Montejo

Getting some work done in the courtyard of Cafe Montejo

As usual, we split our time between working online for our freelance clients and exploring the area. To learn more about things to do in Mérida, check out our brief guide to Mérida on a budget.

Online Classes for Your Creative Side

If you've ever wanted to learn jewelry making, or you've dreamed of starting a photography business - whatever your creative pursuit - be it amateur or professional, you'll probably find it on CreativeLive.

CreativeLive

CreativeLive brings the world's greatest experts to your computer screen, with dynamic live video workshops and courses. Free online classes are broadcasting live every week. Anyone can watch the live workshops - for free - and interact with instructors in real time via chat. After a class airs live, you have the option to get life-time "on demand" access to it by purchasing the course.

Course topics include:

  • Photography
  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Hand lettering and typography
  • Writing and publishing
  • Sewing
  • Knitting and crocheting
  • Mixed media
  • Jewelry
  • Blogging
  • Scrapbooking
  • Business and marketing for creators
Click the image above to see more Craft & Maker classes

Click the image above to see more Craft & Maker classes

Click the image above to see more Art & Design classes

Click the image above to see more Art & Design classes

CreativeLive is a great resource for starting a new hobby or taking your craft skills to the next level. If you're business-minded, you'll also find some interesting opportunities for professional development on the site. 

Free Tools to Be More Productive At Home

Being productive at home has its challenges. When you're surrounded by every-day distractions, chore lists are multiplying, and motivation is scarce, it's good to have some extra tools in the proverbial toolbox to keep you moving forward. Whether it's paid work or a personal project, try these tips to help you finish well:

Try focus music

Some people are motivated by their favorite tunes when they work - others find it distracting. If you fall into the latter category, instrumental focus music may be a better solution for you. Just search youtube, and you'll find free music tracks, each several hours long. Play it while you're working on the computer to help you concentrate and drown out distracting background noises.

Pace yourself with Pomodoro

The Pomodoro technique is all about working on one thing at a time, in a series of uninterrupted spurts. Typically, it means working at a task for 25 minutes, then taking a 5 minute break before the next 25-minute spurt. After four blocks of time, you take a longer break. The idea is to give your brain regular rest to stay fresh and to get more concentrated, concise work done. To aid in the process, you can use Tomato Timer, or download a Pomodoro app.

Wunderlist

Keeping track of your To Do list is simple with the app from Wunderlist. It allows you to organize multiple To Do lists as well as set due dates and reminders for your tasks. You can even sync up your lists with others and assign tasks to different people. Check off the box when you've completed a task, and hear the satisfying "ding" that it's done!

Track Your Time

Tracking how much time you spend on different activities is not only eye-opening, but it's an important step if you want to make changes to improve your productivity. RescueTime is an app you can easily install on your computer and/or phone to keep record of your online activities. It runs in the background and will produce a report of how much time you spent on various websites and computer programs. You can see the cumulation of productive and non-productive activities, set goals for yourself, and with the paid version, you can even block distracting websites at certain times of the day.

For more tips on productivity, check out:

WHERE'S MY BAG: KO'OLINA, HAWAII

Clark & Mayfield Stafford Pro handbag outside the Marriott Ko'Olina Beach Club

Clark & Mayfield Stafford Pro handbag outside the Marriott Ko'Olina Beach Club

Ko'Olina, Oahu, Hawaii

The Ko'Olina resort community is on Oahu's western - or leeward - coast, just 17 miles from the capital city of Honolulu. Once frequented by Hawaiian royalty, it is now home to beautiful resort hotels and vacation rentals like Aulani Disney Resort & Spa, Four Seasons, and Marriott Beach Club.

For family vacations and destination weddings, Ko'Olina makes a great, more laid-back alternative to Waikiki.

Visitors come from around the world to enjoy Ko'Olina's ocean views, play golf, explore the marina, dine out, and relax on the white sand beaches. The coastline is studded with four man-made lagoons, providing gorgeous and well-protected areas for swimming and lounging. These sandy lagoons are connected by nearly two miles of waterfront pathways, with the Lanikuhonua nature preserve just to the north.

TRAVEL WITH KIDS: 4 INSPIRING TRAVELING FAMILIES

Is traveling with kids or living abroad with a young family out of reach? Well, there are actually countless examples online of families who have successfully taken off with little ones in tow. Whether it's biking across the country together, or taking a year off to circle the globe, or transplanting permanently to a foreign country, real families of all kinds are making it happen.

Here are four of our favorite examples, each with their own unique spin on long-term family travel:

Photo credit: http://theartofsimpletravel.net/about/

Photo credit: http://theartofsimpletravel.net/about/

The Art of Simple Travel

Tsh Oxenreider is a full-time blogger, running the site Art of Simple. Last year, she and her family of five sold their house and did an around-the-world trip for 9 months. Tsh and her husband continued their online work and the kids - ages 4 through 10 - took their homeschooling on the road. Their trip has since been completed and they've settled back in Texas, but you can still check out their updates and tips from around the world.


Photo credit: http://www.ytravelblog.com/about-us/

Photo credit: http://www.ytravelblog.com/about-us/

Y Travel

Caz and Craig are full-time bloggers from Australia who travel with their family of four. They've been traveling for 16 years, living and working in five different countries, and traveling Australia in a camper trailer with their daughters. Their website is focused on helping other travels. 


Worldschool Family

If you thought traveling with a family of four or five was impressive, try a family of nine. Greg and Rachel Denning's nomadic family have lived and worked in several countries, driven from Alaska to Argentina, and even birthed new members of their tribe while abroad! They're passionate about education and world-schooling.


Photo credit: https://ditchingsuburbia.com/

Photo credit: https://ditchingsuburbia.com/

Ditching Suburbia

The Boyinks traded in the "American Dream" to set off on a year-long RV trip when their two kids were teenagers. Thanks to an internet-based income and homeschooling, they were able to visit 34 States and 16 National Parks in that first year, and they fell in love with the lifestyle. Ever since, they have continued living out of their RV full time. Their oldest, age 19, recently moved out to take a full-time job in Michigan.

Head to the Boyink's website to see a list of blogs from 140+ full-time RVing families.

IMPROVE EDUCATION WITH DONORSCHOOSE.ORG

Many of us in the Clark & Mayfield community are teachers - or we have little ones attending school - or maybe we're simply concerned citizens who want to see our schools thrive. With the complications and struggles in our education system today, it's nice to know that there's a non-political way to support our schools with DonorsChoose.org.

About DonorsChoose.org

DonorsChoose.org was founded by a first-year teacher at a low-income public school in the Bronx. He saw how the passion that he and his fellow teachers had, was getting frustrated by a lack of resources. To solve the problem he pioneered crowdsourcing for teachers, connecting donors to the classroom projects and wish lists of teachers in New York. His rudimentary crowd-sourcing charity website quickly drew attention and gained the backing of big time venture capitalists and even landed itself on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Today, DonorsChoose.org has raised hundreds of millions of dollars, helping hundreds of thousands of teachers fund projects around the country. 

Examples of funded projects include: 

  • an incubator for hatching baby chicks,
  • acryllic paints for a classroom mural,
  • library books,
  • gardening supplies,
  • and even field trip funds. 

How to Use DonorsChoose.org

For teachers looking to get their students what they need, post a project on the website and multiply your own network with the huge community on DonorsChoose.org. Once the project is funded, they'll ship you the supplies. All you have to do in return is write thank you notes to donors with your students and take some pictures of the projects in action! 

If you're looking to make an impact on education, browse the site for a classroom to support. You can filter your search by subject, grade level, type of resource needed, or dollar amount needed. If you know a teacher who is participating, look up their school or zip code. You can give any amount to a project that inspires you.

Gift cards are also available, so you can share the joy of giving with friends and family. Send them a card and they'll get to pick a project to send the funds to. It's a perfect present for someone who is too hard to shop for because they "have it all."

 

5 Reasons to Rent With Airbnb for Travel

Lounging on the porch of an Airbnb in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Lounging on the porch of an Airbnb in Siem Reap, Cambodia

This is a guest post by our travel writer, Michelle C. of IntentionalTravelers.com.

Airbnb has quickly become the leading alternative to hotel stays for travelers. With options that suit every budget, comfort level, and style, there's truly something for everyone - just about everywhere. In our own travels, we've frequently used Airbnbs - from weekend stays in Canada, Jamaica, and Japan to month-long apartment rentals in Ecuador and Thailand. We've stayed in private rooms with shared kitchen, individual flats all to ourselves, and full houses with our extended family.

Here are five reasons why an Airbnb rental can be a great idea:

1. Airbnb's heavily reliance on reviews takes the guess work out of choosing a place that suits your needs. Just browse the listing to see what people are saying and make sure there aren't any red flags. If the property description doesn't mention the noisy karaoke bar next door, there's a good chance one of the guest reviewers will!

(Both the guest and home-owner review each other after each stay. You don’t see the other person’s feedback until you’ve both submitted reviews, so there’s no pressure to leave a positive review just so the other party will do the same.)

2. Guests can communicate with potential hosts before and after making a booking. This is all done on AirBnB’s site, without exchanging any personal information or e-mail addresses until the booking is finalized. 

I often ask the host a question before committing to a reservation, just to get a sense for their commitment to communication. Since we often do work while we travel, one of my most common questions is the upload and download speeds of their internet - or how easy it is to get there via public transit.

3. Perhaps the biggest advantage to Airbnb is the financial value. Compared to hotel stays that can run $100+ in most cities, it's usually pretty easy to find a cheaper option on Airbnb. The most economical stays are private rooms within someone's home, where facilities like kitchen and bathrooms may be shared with the home-owner, or with other guests (depending on the listing). Even private apartment and full house rentals can end up being cheaper than hotels, especially if you require more than one bedroom.

Airbnb homestay room in Vietnam

Airbnb homestay room in Vietnam

4. The amenities that often come with Airbnb rentals are another great benefit. Renting an apartment with a kitchen opens up a world of possibilities for saving money on food, hosting friends for dinner, and living more like a local. Airbnb hosts will often share public transit passes, museum memberships, bicycles, and other bonuses with their guests.

5. There's a one-of-a-kind opportunity with Airbnb because you can get personalized advice from your host. By reading the property description and reviews, you'll get a sense for whether the host likes to interact with their guests. If so, it's as good as having a private tour guide! Get the true local experience by staying with someone who likes to show their guests around and share meals together. Or if you'd prefer otherwise, choose a host that's  more hands-off and gives you complete privacy.

If you've never tried Airbnb before, I highly encourage you to give it a shot. For a limited time, you can use this link to get up to $40 off your first bookingRead Airbnb's Trust & Safety FAQs if you still have concerns.

WHERE'S MY BAG: CAMBODIA

Michelle (pictured right) and friend with C&M Stafford laptop bag

Michelle (pictured right) and friend with C&M Stafford laptop bag

The “Where’s My Bag?” series highlights Clark & Mayfield bags in interesting locations around the world. This is a guest post by Michelle C. of IntentionalTravelers.com. Michelle and her husband are "digital nomads," running their business online as they travel. Michelle shares about some of the destinations she's visited with her Clark & Mayfield bag in tow.

Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia

Tuk tuk driver on the streets of Siem Reap

Tuk tuk driver on the streets of Siem Reap

While Cambodia remains a developing country, the security of the country has improved in recent years, and its popularity is growing amongst travelers to Southeast Asia. In Siem Reap, the gateway to the famous Angkor Wat temples, tourism has grown to accommodate luxury hotels, international restaurants, ATMs, and a nice little airport. Ancient temple ruins and beaches are the two biggest draws for visitors.

History of Cambodia's civil war and brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge are heavy but important parts of Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, where visitors can witness the Toul Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields. This bustling capital city is relatively under-developed compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, though there are pockets of high-end restaurants and fancy condo complexes catering to expats.

"Phare" the Cambodian circus in Siem Reap features former street performers

"Phare" the Cambodian circus in Siem Reap features former street performers

Why We Went

Our visit to Cambodia was part of a three-month Southeast Asia trip. Since we happened to have a friend serving as a long-term volunteer in Phnom Penh, we took the opportunity to visit her for a long weekend. We also got to partake in the annual Angkor Wat Half Marathon, a true bucket list event with a good cause - proceeds from the race benefit Cambodians who have been disabled by land mines.

It was the most whirlwind part of our whole stay in Asia, but it was well worth it!

Angkor Wat Half Marathon through a UNESCO World Heritage site

Angkor Wat Half Marathon through a UNESCO World Heritage site

WHERE'S MY BAG: CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

The Stafford Pro at a cafe on the Ping River

The Stafford Pro at a cafe on the Ping River

The “Where’s My Bag?” series highlights Clark & Mayfield bags in interesting locations around the world. This is a guest post by Michelle C. of IntentionalTravelers.com. Michelle and her husband are "digital nomads," running their business online as they travel. Michelle shares about some of the destinations she's visited with her Clark & Mayfield bag in tow.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Located in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a popular destination for both foreign and Thai tourists. Its walled Old City, surrounded by a moat, and dotted with ancient temples, contrasts with modern cafes and super malls. Not far outside the city are green rice fields, country villages, and National Parks filled with waterfalls. There's something for just about everyone, including a wide range of restaurants - from tasty night market meals that cost less than $1 US to high-class French bistros, pizza joints, and sushi bars.

The silver wat in Chiang Mai

The silver wat in Chiang Mai

The digital nomad community tends to gravitate toward cities with good wifi, lots of amenities, and a low cost of living. This is why Chiang Mai has become one of - if not the - city with the most digital nomads in the world. Co-working spaces have popped up everywhere and the weekly nomad meet up draws crowds of over 100 itinerant, online workers in peak season. 

Doing some work at one of the many trendy coffee shops in town

Doing some work at one of the many trendy coffee shops in town

Why We Went

Chiang Mai had been recommended to us over and over again by our fellow travelers and digital nomads. So many people raved about it, we made it a priority to stay for a month this past Fall. 

I found an Airbnb condo rental that came with a giant outdoor pool, gym, and strong wifi for just $380 a month. Being on the outskirts of town, we also rented a moped for the month ($80), which gave us the freedom to explore far and wide in our free time. Other than taking scenic drives in the hills, our favorite activity was probably visiting the different night markets for dinner. 

Miss Pa's smoothie stand at the Chiang Mai Gate night market is famous for blended tropical fruits, sold for the equivalent of about 60 US cents

Miss Pa's smoothie stand at the Chiang Mai Gate night market is famous for blended tropical fruits, sold for the equivalent of about 60 US cents

Another highlight was experiencing Chiang Mai's annual lantern festivals, which take place in November around the full moon. The Loy Krathong festival involves sending small candle-lit floats down the river, and the Yi Peng festival sees the release of thousands of floating lanterns into the night sky. It is a magical thing to experience, though it gets very crowded as well!

Riding through heavy traffic while lanterns are being released to the sky all around us

Riding through heavy traffic while lanterns are being released to the sky all around us

If you'd like to learn more about our time in Thailand, including our overnight tour at an elephant sanctuary and hill tribe homestay, visit our travel blog: Intentional Travelers.

LAST CHANCE: HOLIDAY SPECIALS ON CLARKANDMAYFIELD.COM

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the perfect time to save on handbags for you and your loved ones. Delight the college student or Mompreneur in your life with a stylish and practical gift that will carry her through the New Year. 

With discounts up to 75% off, some of our close out sale items have already sold out, so don't delay!

SHOP NOW >

Clark-Mayfield-new.jpg

5 APPS FOR GIVING BACK

Making a positive impact in the world doesn't have to be a huge, overwhelming task. Instead, you can make a difference little by little with the things you do every day. Try these simple smartphone apps to make giving back a breeze:

Charity Miles

What a winning combination! With Charity Miles, you can stay fit and active while making a difference. For every mile you run, walk the dog, or bike, you'll be earning money for a world-class charity, funded by the app's sponsors. Track your distance and contribute to charity all in one.


VolunteerMatch

Are you itching to give your time and skills, but not sure where to channel them? Volunteer Match will help you find a cause that lights you up and get you in touch with a nearby nonprofit that needs you.

So far, they've matched over 11 million volunteers. Why not join them? Find your perfect match.


Instead

Here's an app that helps you find little ways to give by taking on mini challenges that free up money to support the causes you love. Over time, those "micro donations" will add up to significant impact!

The Instead app suggests small alternative actions you can do to save money on purchases, like brewing your own coffee, packing your lunch, or renting a movie. Each time you accept a challenge, log it in the app and donate the few bucks you saved.


iRecycle

Ever have that feeling that more of your trash could probably be recycled, if you only knew where to send things like worn out clothing, electronic gadgets, and other obscure items? The iRecycle app helps you access convenient recycling opportunities for over 350 materials anywhere in the U.S. 

Social Impact

social impact app

Whether you're shopping for a shirt or going out for coffee, you can choose to support businesses that serve a greater good. But how do you find these places? The Social Impact app uses the GPS feature in your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to display retail social enterprises that are closest to you. Whatever product or service you have in mind, check this app to find out where you can find it at a responsible, socially conscious business.

WHERE'S MY BAG: BANGKOK

The Stafford Pro bag at Craft Cafe, a trendy breakfast spot in Bangkok

The Stafford Pro bag at Craft Cafe, a trendy breakfast spot in Bangkok

The “Where’s My Bag?” series highlights Clark & Mayfield bags in interesting locations around the world. This is a guest post by Michelle C. of IntentionalTravelers.com. Michelle and her husband are "digital nomads," running their business online as they travel. Michelle shares about some of the destinations she's visited with her Clark & Mayfield bag in tow.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is Thailand's largest city as well as its capital. This lively metropolis comes with all of the qualities you'd expect in a big city - from high rises and heavy traffic to abundant night life and a wide diversity of eateries. Although urban planning and infrastructure was not always able to keep up with Bangkok's rapid growth in the 80's and 90's, the cityscape is incredibly modern.

Bangkok is full of markets, street food, and mobile restaurants on carts

Bangkok is full of markets, street food, and mobile restaurants on carts

Bangkok has recently been among the world's most visited tourist destinations because it has so much to offer. Royal palaces, museums, and floating markets draw over 18 million visitors a year. Shopping and dining are also a huge attraction in themselves, as Bangkok provides such international options and a wide range in prices.

A typical street-side vendor selling dinner to go, usually sold for $1 or $2 per meal

A typical street-side vendor selling dinner to go, usually sold for $1 or $2 per meal

One of Bangkok's fascinating "cat cafes" where you can get coffee with lots of cats!

One of Bangkok's fascinating "cat cafes" where you can get coffee with lots of cats!

Why We Went

My husband and I spent just under a week in Bangkok this Fall in order to volunteer at a new conference for "digital nomads" like us, called 7 in 7. While most of our time was spent helping produce this event for a small contingent of online workers, we did get out into the city a bit during our free time. We were impressed by how modern and new everything seemed. Using the metro, Uber ride share app, and our own two feet, we were able to visit huge produce markets, fancy malls, a clothing market, a giant city park, the food court where we tried our first mango sticky rice, and even a cat cafe (pictured above).

While we're not big city people ourselves, it's easy to see why so many people visit Bangkok and make this place their home. 

Can You Write Off Your Laptop Bag?

Do you own your own business, or carry a laptop or tablet to work? Then don't miss the opportunity to write off a new laptop bag on your 2016 taxes. Many of our bags are on sale through the end of the year - an opportunity for even more savings if you buy now.

For self-employed individuals, bags used for business purposes - like carrying your laptop - can be deducted as a supply, just like computers and cell phones that are used for business purposes. For employees who incur unreimbursed work-related technology expenses, these purchases may be itemized as employee business expenses.

Remember that the IRS requires deductions to be a "usual, necessary, customary, and reasonable expense for your type of business." If items or utilities are used partially for personal purposes, then you won't be able to deduct the full amount as a business expense. It's always a good idea to check with a tax professional to ensure your deduction is valid.

SHOP NOW FOR LAPTOP AND TABLET BAGS >

END OF YEAR HANDBAG CLOSE-OUT SALE

We're celebrating the holidays with special discounts throughout our online store. This season, you'll find plenty of great deals on our laptop and tablet handbags, including several styles we're closing out completely. 

This is your last chance and the clock is ticking! Scoop up the following deeply discounted bags before we run out:

Morrison Leather Tablet Crossbody in black, red, blue, or purple
$175 $65

Alder Leather Laptop Handbag 15.6" in black, red, blue, or purple
$240 $85

Other Close-Out items not pictured:

HOW TO FLY 1ST CLASS FOR FREE

For the average traveler, flying first class is not in the budget - unless, perhaps, your company is footing the bill. But if you’ve ever taken a long, international flight, it’s not hard to see how a lie-flat seat, three-course meals, and unlimited movies could make those 14 hours in the air a much better experience.

Is it worth the money?

A growing number of people are not shelling out thousands of dollars but they're still taking advantage of that luxury. Instead, they’re paying with miles and points. You may be surprised to learn that they’re not all frequent flyers either.

Jedd and Michelle of IntentionalTravelers.com have paid for all of their long-term international flights with miles over the past two years. This has allowed them to fly round-trip to Jamaica, Europe (twice), Japan, Ecuador, and S.E. Asia - sometimes in First or Business class - which they otherwise could never afford.

Michelle and Jedd use the following rules of thumb to help choose when it’s worth the extra miles for first class:

  • Flights longer than 8 hours, or an overnight flight
  • When you have little time to get over jet lag or it’s important to feel more rested coming off the plane
  • When you also have long lay-overs and your first class ticket will grant you access to airport lounges where you can eat, rest, work, and even shower

"Travel hacking” is the term for the hobby of amassing lots of miles and points to use for travel. It’s done most quickly by signing up for credit card bonuses, though there are other non-flying methods for earning points as well.

Because credit is involved, it goes without saying that this hobby should only be pursued by those who are responsible and disciplined with their money. In case you’re worried: know that there is nothing illegal about these practices, and when done properly, most people actually see an increase in their credit score.

The process does take some time and effort. Here is a basic outline of the steps to earn free first class tickets:

  1. Decide where you want to go and find out which airline could get you there
  2. Open a frequent flyer account for the major U.S. carrier that's in an alliance with that airline (i.e.: American, United, Delta, etc.)
  3. Research the best credit card bonuses that can earn miles for that major airline
  4. Meet the minimum spend for the credit cards to earn the bonus miles
  5. Accumulate more miles through online shopping portals and other special promotions
  6. When you have enough miles in your account, use the airline's online portal to search award tickets (Best availability is often 6-9 months in advance)

As you can see, there’s more involved than just signing up for a credit card and booking a flight. To learn the ropes and ensure that your credit score stays safe, it’s important to do your research. Or better yet, find a guide that can show you the step by step and give you all the background information you need to know. If you’re looking for one-stop, online resources for travel hacking, try: Upgrade Unlocked e-guide or the Make Your Dream Trip A Reality 30-day course.

If you're willing to put in the work, travel hacking can pay off with some big rewards!

BEHIND THE COLLECTION: THE MORRISON

Our Morrison collection was named after the Portland's historic Morrison Street Bridge. The bridge was instrumental in how the city of Portland, Oregon was formed. Built in 1887 the Morrison was the first bridge to connect the east and west banks of Portland. The connection sparked a huge growth in East Portland and soon streetcars linked the two areas. The Morrison was used so frequently that the original wooden truss bridge was replaced in 1905 and again in 1958. Today the Morrison Bridge stands among many other crossings that connect the city across the Willamette River.

USING UBER AND LYFT RIDE-SHARES AS A FAMILY

Why Use Ride-Sharing On Your Trip

Cost - The number one reason to use a service like Lyft or Uber is that it's usually much cheaper than taxis or paying for multiple tickets on a metro. Additionally, the apps offer discount codes for new members.

Accountability - Rather than negotiating rates with the driver, Lyft and Uber trips have a set price per mile and no cash has to be exchange. If for some reason, your driver took an extra long route for no reason, it's tracked by GPS so the customer service team can correct the fare afterward. 

Directions - When traveling internationally where language is a barrier, you don't have to worry about the address or directions getting lost in translation. You set your start and end points on a map, within the app, and it's sent to the driver to follow via GPS. 

How it Works

  1. Sign up for the Lyft or Uber app on your smartphone. (Note that you will need access to cell data if you're abroad for the app to work properly.)
  2. Create an account and add your credit card to it.
  3. When you need a ride, the app will identify your location on the map with a pin. Adjust it if the GPS was off, or if you want to be picked up somewhere else.
  4. Add your destination pin to the map so you can view the estimated cost.
  5. Select a car size that will fit your family. 
  6. When a driver is matched, you'll be able to see how many minutes of wait time are estimated as well as a picture of the driver, vehicle make and model, and the license plate number. You'll also be able to text or call the driver, and vice versa, in case there's additional information you need to communicate.
  7. Get in the car when it arrives, and get out when you reach your destination.
  8. Afterward, the app will prompt you and your driver to rate each other. (And with Lyft, you have the option to include a tip.)

Tips for Ride-Sharing Travel With Families

 

Car seats - For young children, car seats are only available with UberFamily in certain cities (NYC, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Orlando, and growing) for ages 1+ and there is an additional charge. Be aware that drivers in other U.S. cities may deny you a ride if your children are car seat age, although this is more lax in other countries. If it's not too much hassle, you could also bring your own portable booster seat.

Double-check airport pick ups - When traveling with your family, Uber and Lyft are a great option for getting to and from the airport. However, not all cities allow airport pick-ups from ride-share companies. Be sure to check first that a ride-share option will be available to you.

Use both apps - Because pricing can surge during peak times and different cities have different coverage on each app, using both gives you flexibility to find rides faster and cheaper.