Changing Paths

For the last, almost, 6 years (!) I have kept up somewhat of a presence on this blog. My biggest year was definitely 2011 when I was living close to Boston while David was deployed. After that year, life got in the way (David came home and we built our current house) and the blog was pushed aside.

Then a comeback was made in the form of my 30 races in 2014! What an accomplishment! A little recap if you will:

Phew! What tiring, yet fun, year that was!

As 2015 came and went, I tried to keep writing about races, restaurants, and just general life. In July of that year I ended up getting rid of my self hosted site and went back to WordPress. In the process I lost a good chunk of 2014 and some of 2015. It was a bit discouraging but I still feel like I made the right decision to scale back. It didn’t make sense to spend money on something that wasn’t making any money. And my heart just wasn’t in it at the time.

Lately though, I have thought about refocusing my blog to focus on more day to day life and perhaps more baking as well. I contemplated starting a new blog called “Baked with Bliss” but realized that it might force me into feeling like I could only talk about baking. I wanted to do a bit more. And since I’m no longer a concierge (although I am still “jogging”!) I didn’t feel that the name really suited me as well.

And that is why I’ve started a new blog! And I decided to call it “Made with Bliss.” (My maiden name is Bliss and it’s obviously the coolest last name ever 😉 ). I’m really going to try and focus on getting more content out there, too. It may be slow going at first, but hopefully I’ll find my groove.

Won’t you join me??

Made With Bliss

Moving Up

Today is such a bittersweet day as it’s my last here at the concierge desk of the hotel. If we’re friends on Facebook or you follow me on Instagram you may already know: I got a promotion at work!

Starting next Monday I’ll be the new Executive Assistant to the General Manager at the hotel (every time I say that I think of Assistant to the Traveling Secretary). It’s a huge step up for me, and even though I still had to go through the interview process, it was extremely flattering that the GM asked about me personally.

Of course now this means a whole new wardrobe! I even gave away some of my office wear a few months ago since I thought I’d be living in uniforms. Luckily I was able to find two beautiful Calvin Klein suits at Burlington Coat Factory for only $60 each (retail price of $280!).

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I also have some gift cards to Old Navy and TJ Maxx so I can at least get a good rotating selection of tops. It’ll be a work in progress for sure.

I guess the big question now is: what should my blog name be?? I’m not technically a concierge anymore, although the “Jogging Concierge” does still have a nice ring to it. I hope to still be active in Boston and surrounding areas, but we’ll see if I feel like changing things up in terms of name and identity.

And on another (singing) note, this past weekend I sang alongside my mom and other lovely ladies of Stardust Chorus to sing at the Algonquin Club in Back Bay. It was such an amazing experience, and I’ve forgotten how much I love singing in a group. We’ll have to see if it parlays into something I do on the regular. And it’s always fun to be able to play dress up:

algonquin club

So those are the updates in my life! Oh, and on the garage front:

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We have electricity! Such a lovely thing. 🙂

What’s new in your life??

Scenes from the Weekend

Happy Monday evening everyone!

My weekend was a much needed one full of good food and relaxation. I had Thursday through Sunday off, and it was glorious. It definitely helped that the weather was awesome, and spring-like, in Massachusetts!

Thursday was National Drink Wine Day and of course, I had to participate. But which one to choose from?

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I ended up enjoying some Riesling in the afternoon. The whole day was spent running errands: grocery shopping, getting gas, cleaning the house. I cooked some enchiladas for David since I wasn’t going to be home that evening for dinner. Instead, I met up with my mom and we went to her friends house to sing! They invited me along to try out and sing with their a cappella group for a show in April. Thankfully the “audition” went well and the director thought that I would fit well with the group. A couple more rehearsals and then the show! Very much looking forward to it. Along with the singing, we enjoyed some more wine and Chinese food for dinner. 🙂

On Friday I pretty much stayed around the house all day and it was glorious. I printed up a 5K training plan for the upcoming race in April, and it starts today! (Well, rest day today and then 3 miles tomorrow.)

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For dinner, I really wanted to do something special. I set up the dining room table and had a pork roast cooking in the crock pot all day. We had it alongside salad and some champagne.

Saturday, David and I spent the whole day together. In the morning we went to New Hampshire to visit the tool outlet and Costco (thank you no sales tax!). He found a pneumatic stapler at the tool outlet and some LED shop lights at Costco. Can we also talk about how awesome Costco is?? I’m so used to shopping at BJ’s and while they do have a wider selection, the options at Costco are still amazing and the yearly membership is rather cheap ($55). And can we talk about all of the samples?? I think we went back multiple times for a few of the samples (burgers and cinnamon bread). We’ve pretty much decided that we’ll travel to the NH location twice a year to do a big haul. I’ll have to document it the next time we do! We picked up a few things but I could have easily bought out the whole place. 😉

For dinner, we were bad and ordered chicken wings and Little Caesar’s pizza. It was delicious though and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Sunday was spent lazing around in the morning and then finally getting to work on the garage. I finished taping the ceiling (I did the whole thing myself!) and we finished the stem walls around the perimeter. There’s still so much to get done but at least we can work inside now. Because the outside is (pretty much) done!

That night we indulged in some of David’s (amazing!) burgers. I topped mine with pickles, onions, and ketchup, and we had some Alexia potato puffs alongside.

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Overall it was a wonderful weekend and I was ready to get into the work mode today. I had a lot of e-mails to catch up on, and thankfully the desk hasn’t been crazy busy. We’ll see how the week goes! I’m excited to be going to a concierge dinner this Wednesday in the North End. I’ll be sure to report!

How was your weekend?

TBT: 10 Years Ago & Now

I just happened to catch this on Rachel’s blog (one of my favorites!) and thought it would be fun to reflect on 10 years ago. It’s especially fitting since my 10 year college reunion is coming up! How did I get to be so old. 😉

Fast Food: 

10 years ago: I was all about the Wendy’s around this time. I loved their chili, hamburgers, and Frosty’s.

Today: Chick Fil A, hands down. (I’m going to have to concur with Rachel on this one!)

Favorite Food: 

10 years ago: I’m pretty sure I subsisted on Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Elio’s pizza, and ice cream. Not exactly the beacon of health back then. And enjoying some sangria in Madrid.

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Today: Thankfully I’ve developed much more healthy eating habits. I still enjoy pizza and ice cream but in modest amounts. Italian and Mexican are my favorite cuisines.

Breakfast: 

10 years ago: If I ate anything at breakfast it would have been a sugary cereal or a bagel loaded with cream cheese.

Today: Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I could easily eat it all day. I love to mix it up with scrambled eggs, muffins, yogurt, oatmeal, and cereal.

Relationship: 

10 years ago: At this exact time (February 2006) I was amidst a really weird relationship where I ended up being the “home-wrecker”; it wasn’t until July of that year that I met David. 🙂

Today: Almost 10 years together and just over 7 years married! ❤

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Age / Life Stage:

10 years ago: I was a 21 (almost 22) year old college senior and just got back from spending a month in Spain with my school. I was studying Hospitality in the hopes of becoming a wedding planner.

Today: At 31 (almost 32) years old, I’m married, working in Boston and living in a house that my husband built. Our plans on starting a family are coming in to focus as well.

Work:  

10 years ago: I was just finishing college and working at Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse in Peabody (now a Container Store).

Today: I absolutely love my job as a hotel concierge. I’ve had the most amazing opportunities to try out different restaurants and experiences. I almost feel like a bit of a celebrity in the city. 😉

Car: 

10 years ago: My mom gave me her bright red Mazda Protégé when I graduated from high school. It was the most fun car, especially since it was a manual.

Today: I love my Toyota Corolla! We bought it brand new in 2013 and paid it off in the summer of 2014. Eventually, we might look into getting a Tesla for myself (when they come down in price of course). It would be so cool to drive an electric car!

Coffee Shop of Choice:

10 years ago: I was obsessed with Starbucks’ White chocolate mocha’s. I think that’s what aided in my weight gain. 😉

Today: I love local coffee shops now (Pavement Coffee, 1369 Coffee House, Barrington Coffee, Thinking Cup). My favorites are the iced coffee from Thinking Cup and the London Fog (earl gray latte) from 1369.

Shopping:

10 years ago: Obsessed with Target and Old Navy. Such is the life of a college student.

Today: I still like to go to Target for some things (or all the things!) and Old Navy for my jeans. I love Banana Republic and the Loft nowadays. I’m having fun shopping too since I continue to lose some pounds.

Hair Care:

10 years ago: Loved Herbal Essences for color care. I was big into the chunky blonde (my hair is naturally light brunette). I also loved to scrunch it when it was wet.

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Today: I love the Suave Professional shampoo/conditioner for fine hair. When I blow dry my hair, I use a hot heat, then blast with cold just as it all gets dry. Then I use a straight iron to flatten away some of the waviness. I then use Garnier Fructis hair spray for humidity to hold things in place.

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Superhero: 

10 years ago: Oh gosh, did I even have a favorite super hero? Maybe Batman because I really enjoyed the movies.

Today: I love the Avengers. Notably Captain America and Hawkeye. *Swoon*

Books:

10 years ago: My absolute favorite book at that time was “Mermaid’s Singing” by Lisa Carey. It’s about three generations of Irish/Irish-American women; it’s really raw and emotional. And it made me think of my travels to Ireland two years prior.

Today: I love, love, love James Patterson books. They’re nothing mind blowing but it’s such an addictive read.

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What a fun little trip down memory lane! I can’t wait to attend my reunion this summer. It’ll be fun to see people I haven’t seen in the past 10 years. Although the one’s that matter most are the one’s I see more often. 😉

Tell me a little something about yourself based on these questions!

Scenes from My Week

A favorite breakfast of an English muffin with fried egg, veggie bacon and Laughing Cow French onion cheese spread. One of my colleagues brought back some freeze dried chocolate flavored coffee from Columbia. A teaspoon in a cup of coffee = delicious!

One of my favorite parts of the job is getting to put together amenities to have placed in the room for a guests special occasion. In this case, the husband requested flowers and chocolate for his wife’s 30th birthday. The Godiva came from our gift shop, and I purchased the flowers at the local supermarket and placed them in a vase from banquets. Later that day the husband came down and said that his wife loved them. Yah! Always love hearing that. 🙂

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I’m ashamed to say that prior to a couple of weeks ago, it had been 10 years since my last eye exam. I have astigmatism and a slight lazy left eye, so it wasn’t the smartest doing on my part to go so long. And since I recently lost my glasses, it was kind of a sign that I needed to get things checked out and get some new glasses. Last Tuesday, they finally came in! No more headaches or strains from looking at the computer all day.

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And an update on the garage: our doors have been put in! I feel like such an adult when I use my clicker in the car to open the door. As much as I’m liking this mild winter we’re having so far, I wouldn’t mind a storm or two so that I DON’T have to shovel off snow for once. 😉

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Work was crazy for a few days: Double shift on Wednesday, then stayed over to work Thursday morning; met a friend for a drink at a restaurant that he currently manages, then attended a reception at Symphony Hall. Had my previous days not been as busy, I may have stayed for the performance, but I knew I needed to get home and sleep since I had to work at 7 the next morning.

Yesterday I attended an AMAZING performance of Ragtime at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester with my mom. It’s my favorite musical and had been years since I’ve seen it. The soundtrack is a constant in my CD player, and it took everything I had to not start belting out the songs as they were being performed. The songs brought me to tears, and certain parts of the show had my heart racing. Every actor was absolutely amazing, especially the gentleman who played Coalhouse Walker Jr.!

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This week should be much quieter, and thankfully, I’m not working a double shift. This Wednesday is the associate party and they’ll be announcing the Associate of the Year! P.S. I’m in the running! 🙂

How was your week/weekend? And Happy February!

Goals for 2016

In the past I’ve tried to create resolutions for the New Year, and whether or not I was vocal about them, they never really stuck beyond a couple months or so (i.e. eating healthy, getting stronger, doing yoga, etc.)

But this year just feels different. Since before New Year’s, David and I have been actively trying to lose weight. We’ve both set goals and have been tracking our calorie intake with My Fitness Pal. I tried to track a few years ago (2013) but I got bored with it after a couple of weeks. This time has been different though. I actually enjoy adding everything in and seeing how much I’m left with for the day. And I’m actually able to eye-ball a few things (cereal, yogurt, pasta) without having to measure.

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Picture from 2010. Instead of Trader Joe’s though, I shop mainly at Aldi. Love their selection (although limited and scattered) and prices!

Aside from getting healthier by eating better, I would like to up the fitness as well. For Christmas I received some compression shorts and socks that need to get some good use! I still don’t plan on signing up for two many races but maybe a few here and there. I was invited to try a Barre class in Cambridge so I’ll see what that’s all about! Otherwise, it’ll be Pinterest workouts for me in the comfort of my home, along with hitting the pavement. 🙂

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My blogging is also something that has definitely taken a backseat. I love this platform of just being able to talk about what’s going on in my life. It might not be the most exciting life, but it’s fun to interact and “chat” with all of you that continue to read! With my beautiful brand new camera, I hope to bake and cook more recipes to share and take more pictures of my surroundings. New England is such a great place for photography! 🙂

Oh, and this year is my 10 year college reunion (WHAT??). This is what I looked like around that time.

2006 Alaina

A lot has certainly changed since then, and I look forward to gracing the campus of Endicott College in June!

In terms of family goals, let’s just say things are in the works for an exciting year to come. 😉

Do you set resolutions or goals?

An Exhausting (Yet Fun) Weekend

So, yeah, I completely fell off the “Seasons of the Holiday” bandwagon. I’m still enjoying wrapping presents and listening to Christmas music, but I haven’t really put a whole lot of thought into what I do each day. Ah well. 🙂

I am so completely sore, and full, after the weekend David and I had. It was go, go this weekend to get the insulation blown into the attic of the garage. I ended up having to move 165 25-pound bags from the garage (where it was being stored) to the truck where our neighbor was manning the hopper. David was in the attic, using the hose to loose fill the space with 3 feet of insulation. Here’s a photo of me in front, for reference:

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That’s three feet behind me and only 1/4 of the attic was filled. With our neighbor’s help, we were able to get it done in about 3 and a half hours. In the end, I carried a (literal) ton of insulation. Actually, twice that amount. Needless to say, my shoulders still hurt today. At the end of the day, we had quite a beverage selection to choose from to enjoy.

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Just getting to help people is the perk of my job, but I’d be lying if I said Christmas does get me a bit excited. That’s the time of year that vendors will come around and gift the concierge with delicious treats and bottles of wine and champagne. David and I tasted the whiskey and both agreed that it would be best as part of a mixed drink. We ended up with a ginger beer and whiskey concoction. It was perfect. We enjoyed that alongside rotisserie chicken and Ruffles potato chips, because we’re classy like that. 😉 Hey, we deserved it after our long day!

Thankfully Sunday was more laid back, but we still had work to do. Our goal was to tape the seams of the sheathing on the side of the garage. I had to climb up and down ladders and move them in order to get all the spots. I use my shins to balance myself on the ladder so they’re pretty sore today too. And I have bruises in places that I didn’t even think I hit. Sore central indeed!

Our work day was shortened though because we went to my parents to celebrate Christmas. We exchanged presents and enjoyed a delicious roast dinner with mashed potatoes, veggies, and a lemon blueberry pound cake for dessert. The highlight of my evening was getting this!

best gift

It had been on my Amazon Wish List since 2012, and my parents decided it was time for me to get it! I can’t wait to test it out at Christmas and my cousin’s baby shower this weekend.

And here it is, Monday; another work day. I’m working tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday, and then I’m off for the holiday weekend!

Hope you all have enjoyed a wonderful holiday thus far! What has been your highlight?