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

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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??

I Baked Doughnuts!

And then used my fancy new camera to take some pictures. Well, as fancy as I can get them since I’m still getting used to all of the features. 

Last Christmas my parents bought me a doughnut pan because, of all the baking I do, I haven’t really tackled doughnuts. I wanted to change that, and the family party this past weekend was a perfect occasion to bake something up.

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The recipe was from a Family Circle magazine from 2014. The recipe called for adding a topping but I omitted it from my batch.

Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts
Family Circle Magazine March 2014
Makes: 12 servings (My pan was small so I ended up with about twice that amount)
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake at 350* for 17 minutes

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups whole milk (I used almond milk)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Topping (if you would like to add it)
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions
1) Heat oven to 350*. Spray 2 doughnut pans well with baking spray. Into a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Stir wet mixture into dry ingredients until just combined.
2) Spoon batter into prepared baking pans, filling each one a little more than three-quarters full. Bake for 17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap doughnuts out onto a sheet pan.
3) Topping: Melt butter in an 8-inch saute pan. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut first in butter and then in cinnamon sugar, either on one side or both sides.

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Again, the texture is certainly not like the fried ones you’d get at Dunks or a local doughnut shop, but they are tasty nonetheless. 😛

Ice Skating in Boston

Yesterday I attended, what I feel is, the most fun concierge event of the year.

Ice skating at the Boston Harbor Hotel!

2015

This year was equally as fun, if not better. We started out in the Rowes Wharf bar with drinks and some small snacks. Before getting on the ice, I enjoyed a nice glass of Prosecco.

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Then it was time to skate! I actually haven’t skated since the last event, but I surprised myself by getting the hang of it really quickly. I didn’t fall, and I was zipping around doing forward cross-overs and stopping to turn really quickly. To put it in a few words: I had a blast! I used to figure skate when I was younger, and I actually miss it a lot. I’d love to take adult classes…we shall see! 🙂

BHH Skating

No action shots this year, but believe me, I was flying! 😛

I could have stayed on the rink for hours, but the bar eventually won me over. I enjoyed a nice Tanqueray and ginger beer while munching on their many delicious appetizers: pizza, chicken wings, calamari, crab cakes; everything was delicious! And the company was even better, as I was surrounded by some of the best concierge that Boston has to offer. And I received some great advice when I go for my Les Clefs d’Or keys. Only a couple more months until my application is due!

The skating rink is located at 30 Rowes Wharf, under the Rotunda. The rink is smaller than the Frog Pond, but far less crowded. They are open weekdays from 3 pm to 8 pm and on weekends from 10 am to 9 pm. Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for children. Rentals are $10 for adults; $8 for children. They also offer season passes: $50 for an individual; $100 for a family (2 adults, 2 children 12 & under). 

This concierge event was complimentary; all opinions are my own.

What is your favorite winter activity?

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Except without the enchilada sauce. So I guess a chicken/cheese/salsa wrap thingy? Either way, it was quick, easy, and delicious.

When I graduated college, my cousins bought me a recipe book called “Your Shirt is Not an Oven Mitt.” It’s filled with easy recipes containing ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen. I always seem to gravitate towards this dish though because if there’s nothing more that David and I enjoy, it’s anything with cheese and salsa. 🙂

Please excuse the dark pictures; I’m still getting the hang of my new camera. Plus light at 7:45PM isn’t always as optimal.

Yah for presentation! 😛

All you need to do is mix your chicken (I used grilled chicken strips from Trader Joe’s but rotisserie chicken is definitely the way to go!) in a microwavable dish with about a cup of salsa and half a cup of shredded Mexican cheese. Heat the dish for about a minute on HIGH in the microwave or 5 minutes on the stove top. Prep the oven to 350* and line a baking dish with a thin layer of salsa. Divide the chicken into flour tortillas (I used whole wheat) and place in the dish with the seams facing down. Top with additional cheese and bake for 20 minutes!

What I really like about this particular dish is how much you can modify it. I’ve added enchilada sauce, sauteed onions and peppers, and even used corn tortillas (although sometimes they break too easily) as a way to mix things up. Or instead of chicken, you can use flavored tofu or ground beef. And the leftovers will be great for David when I have to work the evening shift at the hotel.

What’s your favorite quick and/or go-to recipe?

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.

trader joes

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. 🙂

running

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?

Spirit of the Holidays: Day 5

Happy Saturday everyone! It was a gorgeous day today with the temps in the 50s. My husband and father in law worked on putting up shingles on the garage. It’s almost all done! (Well, getting it weathered in in order to park for the winter.)

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While they were busy nailing away, I made sure to keep up my “spirit” for the month. While listening to the Christmas station on Pandora, I wrapped a few presents (for my mom and dad).

I love my wrapping this year: silver paper and blue ribbon!

Almost all of my shopping is done; there are just a couple more people to finish up for. And I’ve found a recipe for my Christmas cookie this year: chai spiced sugar cookies! Yum. 🙂

Have you finished (or started) your shopping?