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How to nail priceline.

I can priceline hotels like nobodies’ business.  A few years ago I went on a trip with a friend to California and I did some intense research on Priceline and learned how to master it.  Now I am sharing my secrets.  I am going to make this as simple as possible so listen closely.

Priceline is actually one time when procrastination can be a good thing.  I have often gotten my best deals when I have waited until the night of.  This is because hotels get more and more desperate to rent out their unoccupied rooms as the night gets closer.  That is not to say you should wait until the night of, but the later you wait the better deal you may get.

1.  To get the most bang for your buck you must BID not pick from the deals they already offer.

2.  Choose the town you want and the area of town you want.  BE CAREFUL - only pick the area you want.

3.  Choose the star level.  My rule of thumb is to pick the most amount of stars first, once you rebid you can always pick less.

4.  Bid.  Priceline will give you a guesstimate of the “average” amount the hotels around the area are going for.  My rule of thumb is to cut that by 1/2.  Example: if the average hotel is “$120″ I am going to bid at $60 give or take $10.  If your bid is accepted it is final.  Congrats you have a room.  If not rebid.

5. Rebid.  This is where it can get tricky.  OPEN A NEW BROWSER.  This allows you to start fresh.  You must change something in your bid (either the area or the star level) or wait 24 hours to bid for the same thing.  My favorite trick here is to find areas of town that do not have as high of star level as you want.  You can do this by clicking the areas of town separately and seeing the highest amount of stars available in each area. 

Here is an example:  I want to stay in north Austin but my bid was rejected.  To rebid I will look and see that in Central Austin the higest amount of hotel stars available is 3.  So this time I will bid on North Austin at 4 stars and I will check off central austin as an additional area so that I can rebid.  However, priceline has to give me at least a 4 star hotel therefore I am essentially only bidding on hotels in North Austin because the only hotels that priceline is affilated with in Central are 3 stars or less.  You can do this with as many areas as you need to and rebid as many times as you need to, but just be careful.  If I was to chose North and Central with 3 stars then I am up to get a room in either area because they both have 3 star hotels in them.  Make sense? 

Each time you rebid you should open a new browser as priceline greys out your orginal bid giving you the impression you have to keep it like that to rebid (which you dont).

6.  Here is a great website where you can see wining bids in the city you are looking for.  This can help you get an idea of what you should bid, what prices are being accepted and which are not.  http://www.bidlesstravel.com/search-winning-priceline-bids.html

7.  You can practice your bidding in a city you are not interested in if you type in $1.00 to bid with.  This is a good way to get a feel for what you are doing and I doubt you will get a hotel for $1.00 so it’s a pretty safe way to practice.

This is a very short explanation its kind of the quick and dirty.  If you want to know even more there is so much out there on google, but I hope I have helped and best of luck!

Confessions…

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I didnt want to tell you this, but my best friend insisted that I put this on the blog.  Leave it to my BFF to call me out, force me to be honest with myself and then admit it to the WWW.

So here goes…

Deep breath.

For the first time probably ever I made a new years resolution.  Not only did I make a resolution, I made a challenging one.

I decided to try to keep the same cell phone for a whole year.

I know to some people this does not seem challenging…but for me this is the equivalent of climbing mt. everest…

with an articial limb.

Unfortunately, on January 30th I lost my cell phone.

Fortunately, after having a total of 5 cell phones in 2010, I am a pro at getting a new one.

I know its a silly resolution, but it really frustrates me.  If I cant keep up with a cell phone, how am I supposed to get anywhere in life? 

I have yet to figure this out…but in the mean time I got a new go phone from target and a set a NEW new years resolution:

To keep the cell phone I have for a whole year starting from Feb. 2011.

“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.”  Hugh Prather

For the most part I do not dislike change, infact I often find it refreshing.

This past week I started a my final 12 week internship for school. It is at a rehab hospital working patients who have had spinal cord injuries. It is both amazing and overwhelming at the same time. Sadly, this new rotation is not in Austin aka my favorite city in the world. I am now in Houston amongst the traffic, pollution and perservatives.  But…there have been some great changes lately!

  • The worm has left!
  •  The book is moving forward!
  • I made these life changing cottage cheese and raisin muffins!

The snacking squirrel doesn’t lie. The trick to getting a glorious muffin top really is over filling the muffin pan.

a peak inside

Cottage Cheese and Raisin Muffins (adapted from Muffins Galore cook book by Catherine Atkinson)

Makes 12

1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease muffin tin.

2. Mix flour, bran cereal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, orange zest, and salt in large bowl.

3. In separate bowl, mix cottage cheese, yogurt, honey, melted butter, eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix briefly until combined. Fold in carrots and raisins.

4. Spoon batter into muffin cups – OVERFILL for amazing tops!

Ingredients:

  •  2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups all-bran cereal
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  •  1 teaspoon orange zest
  •  ½ teaspoon salt
  •   1 cup cottage cheese
  •  1 cup plain yogurt
  •  2-3 tablespoons honey
  •   ¼ cup melted butter
  •   2 eggs lightly beaten
  • ½ cup rasins

Sister got back from Peru today!

Doesn’t she look like a legit Peru type person?

Check out the sweet Peru purse, mittens and headband she brought me!

Thanks sister – I love it!

Also the New Years resolution is ON!

Behold – the cell phone that WILL last me the ENTIRE year of 2011:

Please note that it is sitting on top of my handy-dandy PLANNER which I am positive will keep me totally organized this year. 

Si se puede!  (I think I can).

Just like everyone esle I always have totally lame-o resolutions.  You know the ones I am talking about…

  • I will lose 5 -10 lbs this year
  • I will stop drinking as much coffee
  • I will stop drinking diet coke
  • I will workout every day

But this year I am throwing the lame – o resolutions to the wind and going for something HUGE.

Yes It is a challenge I have never tried to undertake before and this is the year to make it happen.  Do you remember target go phone #4?  The one that replaced target go phone # 3 when it broke to pieces?

Well, sadly go phone #4 has gone.

I dont know where, but it has.

Which leads me to my brand new resolution: 

 Keep ONE cell phone for a whole year.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

Happy new year :)

The Christmas Mom

Merry Christmas. 

Behold my first book – The Christmas mom.  I wrote in when I was in first grade. It is hillarious.

the mom wasn't certain about Christmas

mom still liked it a little

the mom had to do all the work...she was sad

Help me!

I asked mom if she liked christmas...she said NO.

NO.

Mom got some presents because she was special

the christmas mom liked it better
the end

What I’ve been up to…

Hey all.  I know its been a while.  It is much easier to keep up with the blog when I do not have a full-time job/internship.  I am not as good at time management as I would like to be. 

Several of you had commented about the internship so I wanted to give you a brief update on it despite the fact that it has nothing to do with food/chocolate or puffins.  I know - even I am impressed that I am writing about something different.

I cannot go into detail, but in general I work with deaf kiddos with special needs to help develop their fine motor skills (grasping, cutting, writing, buttoning, ect.).  Last year I decided to learn sign language on top of getting my masters degree in occupational therapy in order to be able to do my internship with the deaf population.  I learned a lot of sign, however as with all languages it takes time and practice to develop.  Therefore my signing is still a work in progress. 

What I love the most is the little things, like a few weeks ago when a three-year old chewed me out in sign because I was signing the word “ready” slightly incorrectly.  She had a good point, but I could not help but laugh to myself as she re-taught me the sign. I have to respect such audacity in a three-year old.

I love working with kids.  I feel completely in my element when I am around them. 

I am still going to keep up with the blog when I have the opportunity.  The chocolate and puffins will be returning soon.  I still have a chocolate covered puffin recipe to share.

I am also still working on my book which is coming along well.  I will share more about it later.

I hope everyone has a wonderful thanksgiving – we have so much to be thankful for.

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