Category Archives: Holidays

How To Get A Good Hotel Room

When you go vacationing, the first thing you probably look for is the hotel room. Questions go through your mind: where should I stay? Free breakfast? How many stars? Is it a good area? How convenient is it? Here are some tips to finding a good place to stay.

5 stars is not always the best. In fact, most 5 star/posh hotels offer very little free items other than a room. Each thing more is extra, and the cost can be pretty high. Forget wi-fi, free breakfast, free parking. 5 stars means valet parking, expense hotel room service and food.

Normally, you should look for a 3 or 4 star hotel, and if you can, pick a well-known name like Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, etc. Use travel sites to book the lowest value room in the hotel. Each room is typically the same, so you won’t be shorthanded if you pay 50% less than the normal rate. Next, check if the hotel has free breakfast and free wi-fi (if you need that). Most 3 – 4 star hotels have at least 1 of those 2, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Book in advance. Never try to book the week before you go and expect to find a cheap place with what you want. People typically look for the same things you do, and all the good, low cost hotels fill up quickly. Try to book at least 3 months beforehand.

Pick hotels in good locations. Don’t take a hotel in a run down area because it has the lowest price. Don’t risk injury or loss because you choice a bad area. Instead, find a populated area, and read hotel reviews and view maps to find out more. If you are visiting a city, try to get a place in town so that you can wander around in the evening. If you are too far away, you may have to pay extra to park in town, and you might not be able to stay and mingle in the nightlife (especially if you use hotel services like shuttles and buses).

When looking at motels, read reviews on travel sites to find out what type of place you are looking at. It is best to generally have an idea what the hotel room will be like and what the hotel provides before picking it.

Finally, if you really do find a good deal on a 5 star hotel like I once did (roughly $100 a night on rooms with regular rates of $500), then you should take that type of deal if you can’t find other places at roughly the same price. Since you will be saving a load of money, you can afford to pay for valet parking and things of that nature. You can live without Wi-Fi and other things for a few days.

If you have any tips that YOU try to follow, post them here!

Voltaire

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Recipes for the soul. [and for the gut]

Stepping outside of the box, the traditional blog post you would find here, as part of life, comfort food is something almost all of us, whatever interests, culture or backgrounds we originate from. So for whatever it is you do, here’s a list of some of the best tasting stuff I’ve made for events I’ve been to in recent months. Note that I did not create any of these recipes, but only compiled those that I’ve made in the past which everyone enjoyed. For the ones people did not enjoy, please leave a comment of request.

So, why not start with dessert?

Root Beer Float cookies (with root beer glaze) – average time 15 minutes (depending on oven)

http://desertculinary.blogspot.com/2005/07/root-beer-float-cookies.html

With or without the glaze, served soft and warm, these are very relaxing. You can take a couple or down 10 and you’ll still feel satisfied. Hardly filling and taste very well like a root beer float. I recommend adding way more powdered/confectioner’s sugar, enough to make the glaze gooey that dries sort of shell like. Following the recipe will make a more watery and runny glaze.

Puppy Chow (with peanut butter) – average time 20 minutes

http://www.recipezaar.com/9370

Something about Puppy Chow, especially with peanut butter. Not quite sure what it is, but tons of people I know can’t stop eating this, even when they start to get sick. Please, do not feed to any actual animals, especially puppies and dogs.

Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke dip – average time 35 minutes

http://www.recipezaar.com/1209

This is a great appetizer for people who want something that tastes great but makes them feel like they’re eating healthy. Great for parties or small hang out sessions, LAN parties, you name it. You can set it to cook in the oven and go for a few frags against your buddies or get the house ready for a movie night. Also, a nice versatile dish for vegetarians, instead of platters of meats.

Chicken Cordon Bleu (with bacon!!) – average time 35 minutes

http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/2007/04/recipe-update-easy-chicken-cordon-bleu.html

For something that sounds so fancy, the flexibility of this dish is invaluable. As the recipe page mentions, you can quickly prepare the ingredients in 5-10 minutes and freeze it over night and save it for later in the week. Great for kids and family dinners, and come on. What carnivore doesn’t love bacon?

God speed, and Best wishes. (and bon appetit!)

¥

Happy Memorial Day!

The Underground Staff would like to say Happy Memorial Day and to remember those that gave up their lives protecting our country (The USA).

I’m going to go out and have some old school BBQ action, how about you?  See you guys tomorrow for the TiT update.

For the Ladies.

moore.jpg

I stumbled upon an article with a link to this site yesterday:

http://www.uPumpItUp.com/

Mandy Moore has always seemed to be quite the sweetheart. Her goal for this site “…is aimed at helping women balance their “wellness” by sharing such stories to challenge and inspire each other to better their lives.” Having just launched it I felt it was perfect for the weekly Life post. For you lovely, loyal ladies visiting us at The Underground, this post goes out to you. Keep making the world run as well as you do.

[ Source: Mandy Moore aims to inspire life balance online @ Reuters ]

God Speed, and Best wishes.

¥

Keeping your New Year’s resolutions.

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It’s 3 days into the New Year, most of you have no doubt gone back to work and school or at least back to your non-vacation style lives and might just be starting to realize maybe, just maybe your resolutions aren’t going to be quite kept this year. For the 80% of the 40-50% of you that do make resolutions, why is that so?

According to national surveys, 40-50% of Americans make resolutions and only 20% of those people keep their resolutions and fulfill them. Here are the main tips based on several qualified opinions on keeping your New Year’s resolutions, fulfilling them and perhaps tweaking them to slightly more realism.

1) Remember to keep them just that, realistic. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep. If one of your goals is losing weight and you might not be sure about a target date (even though you may have an event to make) make your target to lose a certain amount of weight. Make it a realistic amount of weight or a realistic amount of work to get done – getting everything done might cause you to get nothing done.

2) Involve others. Your closest friends will be able to offer some advice on how realistic you may or may not be or even if you can shoot higher.

3) Reflect, plan and write. Think deeply about what you’ll be doing, don’t make any resolutions last minute – plan everything accordingly and write it down. Weigh the pros and cons of things in your life while choosing and also while reviewing what you write. Put an outline of your plan and checklist of resolutions on the bathroom mirror, the fridge and/or anywhere else you go in your home constantly. Upkeep it, update it and your progress will motivate you further.

4) If you miss a goal, don’t sweat it. You will most likely miss one if you have a few or more but reward yourself for what you do get done. Just make sure it’s not a pizza cake and soda party to celebrate losing weight.

Hopefully your on your way to completing your New Year’s resolutions, I know these points certainly helped me reach some of my goals!

Sources and more in depth: [ About.comWebMD ; eHow ; University of Washington ; Selfgrowth Encyclopedia ]

God speed, and Best wishes.

¥

P.S.: This New Year’s marked the 100th ball drop of Times Square in New York!

Top 10 of top 10s: Ways to de-stress, progress and relax.

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The holiday season is here and the rush has started. Working overtime, speed shopping early, winter driving, among many other things has grasped the majority of America and it’s no secret the extra stress that comes this time of year. Of course, this list isn’t bound my season and is invaluable to everyone no matter the season. Here is compiled list of the top 10 ways from top 10 lists to having a more relaxed time day by day:

#10: Organize. By far this is the most difficult hurdle to jump. Compile your diet, job, hobbies and anything else you find necessary in your life. Make a list, set your priorities and stick to them. Create a flexible schedule just as if you were making a budget on your time.

#9: Remember the important things. It’s easy for any of us to become focused on the negative and other things we really don’t need to focus on. Get involved in helping people, there’s always someone who has it worse. One common viewpoint is “how can I help someone else if I can’t help myself?” when in fact, helping other people is helping yourself.

#8: Accept others. What someone says, the person they are and what they do are as important to them as who you are is important to you. Accept others for who they are, as well as accepting what someone does for you. There’s never any harm (except to pride) in accepting help or consolation from someone else, especially those who have been in a similar situation.

#7: Communicate. Keeping certain things bottled inside is not healthy. Some things need to come out, whether it be something as simple as wanting to share a new interest, a favored song or a deep issue you’re dealing with. Communication is the foundation of love. Tell your family and friend you love them, tell your employees and employer you appreciate what they’ve done to help you in your career and so forth. Just remember the classic phrase “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. Also, don’t let things sit. Time is of essence!

#6: Take care of your physical health. Maintain a diet catered to your needs; avoid high sugar foods for breakfast, high calorie foods for lunch and high fats for dinner. Upkeep your hygiene. Wash your hands when appropriate, make your showers enjoyable or take baths when you have time. Even a 30 minute work out a day, jogging around your block, 15 minutes on a bike or a few sets of push ups can boost your daily energy more than you might think. It’s a good time to reflect, listen to music (refer to this guide) or turn on the TiVo and kill two birds with one stone. Don’t spend most of your time vegging out.

#5: Take care of your mental health. Have a good laugh regularly. Humor and comedy is everywhere, television, newspapers, internet; your daily body pains can actually be healed by a good dose of laughter. Write down your thoughts and read them; with retrospective you may be reminded of things from your recent past you had opinion or feeling on that you otherwise may have forgotten and perhaps may now view as unnecessary or more valuable than you did at the time. Most importantly, be good to yourself, fight your mind to be confident about who you are. If you’re struggling, restart steps 10-6 and continue to try your best.

#4: Have a place to go to and escape. Your faith, someone to be with or a special exclusive location you can call your own, are all ways to distract yourself from daily stresses. Be careful not to become dependent. Remember you’ll have to face a lot of that stress eventually.

#3: Keep your family and friends close. Being there for them will make them want to be there for you. Do your best to tolerate the little things, we all know family can be irritating. Accept your friends’ differences without falling into peer pressure. They’ll have respect for you and you’ll feel much better about standing or yourself and your values.

#2: Channel your stress. Stress can be your biggest untapped source of energy. Use your stress to push you to exercise a little longer, to motivate you to finish that project. Try to avoid making your stress the topic of conversation in a social setting, stress is contagious. It’s very important to tell someone about the things you’re dealing with, however, passing it on to others at an unfitting time keeps the focus in everyone’s mind including your own further preventing you and others to having a good time.

#1: Stay consistent. Stick to your guns, work at keeping what you’ve done for yourself steady and constant. Leave plenty of room for spontaneity but maintain some sort of routine and make sure to write it down somewhere! Go through this list again, ask the people around you what works for them. Experiment! Try different things if something isn’t working – Einstein described insanity as doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

I hope you find this collective list to be useful to you in your endeavors. Feel more than free to leave a comment or e-mail me with whatever stresses you may be dealing with, whether it be a personal issue, social issue, even technology issues. You can reach me at theweeklygn@hushmail.com and expect a response in 24 hours!

Best wishes and God speed.

¥

[ Sources: WebMD top 10 ways to de-stress; About.com Effects on Stress; EzineArticles.com Stress and Your Immune System; Associate Content : College Essentials 101 Ten ways to relax this semester; EzineArticles.com Phew! 10 Quick Ways to Relax and De-Stress ]

Amazon.com Black Friday Madness.

amazonbfmadness.jpg

(click for enlarged image)

As if Amazon.com couldn’t get any better, they’ve finally put down a wicked competition in the Black Friday madness this year.

They have a unique system where you, the consumer vote on what incredible deals you’ll get. There are 8 rounds, each of 3 items under a specific category. For example, the first round consists of the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 (40 GB model) and the new Xbox 360 Arcade system that is replacing the Core system. Each are sold at incredibly lower prices (over 50%!) but you’re only able to get that deal on the one you vote for, if you show up at a specified time and are offered that deal.

You can vote once in each round, careful though, you can’t change your vote. You have to be a registered user but it’s free and you only need your basic information until you buy the product. I would recommend setting up your account for one-click buying however as these deals are highly limited to about an average of 500-1,000 pieces of inventory per item.

Head over to this url to get started: [ http://promotions.amazon.com/gp/holiday/amazon-customers-vote ]

Happy shopping viewers of The Underground!

Halloween Costume – Transformers

I was reading Voltaire’s Halloween post, and he had a link to some rapidshare file. It was retarded though, because the file is 3G2, and being the minimalist I am, I had to download a quicktime program to view it. Being that the real quicktime program is larger than 18 MB, I got quicktime alternative, but I still couldn’t view the file.

As part of my retaliation against Voltaire’s laziness to just find a Youtube video, I have taken the opportunity to do it myself. Feast your eyes on some sick transformer costume videos!

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