Paleo Day 1

Hello all!

I’m starting something new this week to go along with my 1/2 marathon training! I’m going 100% paleo with my diet – and, if you know anything about me and my obsession with various types of cuisine (and sugar…lots and lots of sugar), you can imagine how much of a struggle this may be for me.

If you’re not familiar with what the paleo lifestyle is, Nerd Fitness has ya covered. Reading this was the first time I had ever even HEARD of it, so it’s a good place to start!

For my first day, though, I’m still alive and well! And something tells me that I will, in all likelihood, be not only alive and well in a month from now, but I’ll be alive, well, and BETTER.

Here’s how my day started:

I woke up, stumbled out of bed (looking like Cousin It…as always), and I made my way to the kitchen. Side note: my hunger is my alarm clock, not even kidding, so I always eat first thing in the morning. For breakfast, I cut up some apples and spread them with almond butter, which, might I add, I am addicted to. I also ate a handful of blueberries with some almond milk and coffee.

Great! It was delicious, and I was full, satisfied, and happy.

When I arrived at work, I immediately smelled bread. Yes, I SMELLED carbs. If there are carbs within the length of a football field from wherever I am standing, I will sniff them out. I located the tray of bagels. I groaned, and carried right on past it. I sat down in my cubicle, patted myself on the back, told myself  I was awesome, and began to start my work day.

For lunch, I made a baked chicken breast marinated and topped with fresh tomato salsa, and homemade guacamole! I also had a handful of carrots and a banana to go along with it.

Then, at 4:58  PM, I smelled popcorn. I resisted like a champion, but I questioned how I would resist all of the temptation throughout a full-on life style change if I’m already pining for buttery, salted kernels half way through day numero uno. The important thing is, though, that I am not actually hungry, the smell of popcorn just happens to be intoxicating!

For dinner, I made baked chicken with sugar snap peas, carrots, zucchini, onion, marinara, and salsa (because hotter is better), all baked together to create a deliciously satisfying, drool-worthy, quick, and easy dinner for one!

One day down, a lifetime to go. I will definitely cheat. I’m not going balls-to-the-walls from here on out, by any means. I will stick with this paleo thing as a regular day-to-day way of living, but I refuse to lie to you and say I will turn down every piece of chocolate cake I find involuntarily and/or voluntarily placed in front of my face.

Tomorrow, I am going out to lunch with a co-worker who has already been doing the paleo thing for a few months. Once I get the hang of it, I’ll start exploring new recipes and become one of those people who choose to be responsible and cook every day.

Til then, wish me luck!



Review: Acre121 and Amanda Badze

Hi. My name is Jessie Spielvogel and I love food and free entertainment. Since I am currently dwelling in Washington, D.C. and have been out here for about two months now after relocating from Texas, I will start finding the best places to be fed and entertained in the city…and, of course, I will give my thoughts on these places and people…because I’m opinionated n stuff.

I pride myself on the fact that I am a pro at finding cheap food and events, so consider me a resource for nights when you are broke and bored, or nights when you have a date and don’t want to appear broke and bored. And, remember: it’s not being cheap. It’s being economically reasonable. 

My fellow live music loving homies - Benny, Acsa and me at Acre 121

Acre 121 (Country BBQ/Bar/Music Venue) with Amanda Badze (Indie Rock and awesomeness)

The Talent

A friend of mine from high school has a sister that lives in D.C. and she is a singer/songwriter/actress/poet. Her name is Amanda Badze, from Gweru, Zimbabwe, and her voice is a gorgeous combination of Adele, Rhianna, and a unique Indie/African flare of her own. She performed a four-hour set at Acre 121 on Friday night, and the crowd loved her charisma, vocals, and choice of covers. Her song choices ranged from favorites by Bob Marley, to Cage the Elephant, and all the way to the good ol Temptations. All of her songs were crowd pleasers, and there wasn’t a time in the night when the audience was not singing and/or dancing along with the music.

Amanda is currently a student at Howard University, but she performs as much as she has time for while she completes her studies. Her brother, Ishmael Badze (currently living the life out in LA while studying public relations), is her booking agent and manager. Amanda says he’s been a lifesaver as she begins her career, and that he is amazing at helping her to keep her world organized (for all you young, up-and-coming managementless talent out there – he’s clearly your man).

The Venue

Acre 121 is a fairly new restaurant right off the metro in Columbia Heights (across from the IHOP). It’s considered a country BBQ restaurant/live music venue. The management is great, the bartenders are friendly, and the staff was smiling and upbeat. It is so rare to find such awesome service in D.C., but these people definitely had it together. The manager even brought over a small sample of a potential menu item for us to try, and later came back to ask what we thought, and if there was anything we would do to improve it. With the option to sit outside on the patio or inside with the AC and bar, this place is a great venue for any type of weather, occasion, or craving!

Mixed drinks were a little pricey, but for this city it was pretty average. However, beers weren’t ridiculously overpriced…Abita Light was $5.00 for a pint, which may seem crazy to my college town of San Marcos, Texas, but out here, it’s a blessing.


For information about Amanda’s upcoming shows, please visit her Facebook music page. For booking information, email Ishmael Badze at

To check out fun events and great food/drinks at Acre 121, visit their website!

Oh! And for the social media nerds like myself out there, make sure to follow Amanda and Acre 121 on Twitter!


Operation Oprah – An ambitious soul on a mission

A good friend of mine, and former Discovery intern, has embarked on a new project to land her dream job. It may seem crazy, but sane never reeaallyyy got anyone anywhere, right?

Kelsey Howell is one of Oprah’s biggest fans. She would argue that I am not being truthful in that statement. She would correct me by stating, “No, Jessie. Get it right. I am Oprah’s biggest fan.”

She is writing Oprah one piece of fan mail every day for 30 days. In each letter, she is explaining why she would be the perfect employee on Oprah’s team. Which, might I add, she definitely is the most perfect candidate for Oprah’s entourage.

In three words, I would describe Kelsey as creative, hardworking, and charismatic.


By a show of hands, or, comments, how many of you have ever come up with the idea to write to Oprah every day for 30 days in hopes of getting a job in the next year? Well, if you say you have, you’re lying! Kelsey has an amazing ability to come up with creative ways to get noticed. She knows what she wants, she has a goal, and she is thinking outside the box to get a step ahead in her career. When I asked Kelsey what she would want to do for Oprah, she jokingly said, (I hope), “I will be her dog’s chew toy if she wants.” Not only is that creative, that’s some severe dedication and loyalty if you ask me.


Kelsey has never stopped working. She has worked all throughout college and high school because she has her priorities in line. Many of her jobs have been less than ideal, but she kept a smile on her face the entire length of employment because she knows the importance of professionalism and keeping her chin up. Whether they be part time positions of full time internships, she is constantly on the move to gain experience, contacts, and, well, money.


I am going to let these photographs speak for themselves to describe Kelsey’s charisma. If I were Oprah, I would hire her. Not to be my dog’s chew toy, but I’d AT LEAST start her out full time as my assistant’s assistant’s assistant’s assistant.  Hey, you have to start somewhere…and in this scenario, I’m Oprah – so I get four assistants.

Cute, educated, and great shoes

Check out that firm handshake and smile! Kelsey is shaking the hand of Jackie Hernandez, CEO of Telemundo Communications at an awards gala in NYC.

Kelsey was one of the Shark Week mascots last summer. Intern duties sometimes require things such as this. But, she’s smiling…see?

See those cords? That screams “I’m SMART!”

At the end of the 30 days, I hope that Kelsey has adequately marketed herself to get a response from Oprah’s assistant’s assistant’s assistant. After all, she is Kelsey friggin Howell.

Pondering what’s next – DC life post Houston life

Finding a job in this economy completely suc….completely drains my life. I moved out to the East Coast in hopes of exploring parts of the country I feel I could live in to start a career. I love DC. I think it’s a great city with lots of enthusiastic and passionate professional-minded individuals. But, the job search is not going as well as I had hoped. Moving out here was a decision I made because I was ready for a change and sick of sitting still.

I am a pro at getting to the third phase of interviews with amazing companies, but when every job has “three to four really good candidates” at this step in the interview process, it’s cutting my odds down to 25 – 33.333333333333333333333333%.

That being said, and incredibly mathematically accurate might I add, I’m still exploring my options. I don’t know much about what the future will hold, but here is what I do know:

1. I want to work in media. I want to work for an agency doing PR and communications for lifestyle, entertainment, or non-profits. I like to eat. And I like to talk. So, finding a job in which I can utilize both of those passions would be ideal.
2. I want to travel. People say this all the time. But, rarely, as I have come to notice, do people ever get to do so until retirement age. I am 22 years old, unemployed, little money in my savings from my previous job, and a lot of energy. As much as I would love to save the little amount of money I have, I would like to spend it in Southeast Asia eating and exploring much more.
3. I want to help others in my position. While I have met a lot of amazing people out here in D.C. this past month, many people seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be unemployed and running around with your head cut off in a new city. While lots of people I have met have been eager to help and super friendly, majority just wont give you the time of day. And that’s the way it goes. But, when I am in a position of employment and have the experience needed under my belt, I am going to help young people find the right connections and ultimately a good fitting job.

So, what’s next? I’m applying for jobs every day, and meeting new people from networking events and previous connections. If a full-time position comes my way in the next month, I would be ecstatic and be the best employee I could possibly be for that company! If not, I’ll take it as a sign to get on a plane to Southeast Asia.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for reading!

Witnessed! DC Random Act of Kindness

Today, as I was walking toward my favorite Washington, D.C. coffee shop on Pennsylvania Avenue, I witnessed a homeless woman chasing after someone down the sidewalk. She was shouting, “Ma’am! Ma’am!” When the woman turned around after realizing someone was trying to reach her, she had that look on her face that any innocent bystander would take as “who the eff is yelling at me right now?”

When the homeless woman caught up to her, out of breath and sweating (it’s DC…everyone is sweating), she handed the woman a 20-dollar bill. “You dropped this back there,” the homeless woman told her. The woman smiled, thanked her for being so honest, and they went on their separate ways.

I can’t speak for the others on the street who witnessed this random act of kindness, but good deeds such as this one give hope to humanity!

I’m in need of Summer reading suggestions!

Last summer in D.C., my reading list consisted of:

11 Minutes – Paulo Coelho

Harold and Maude – Colin Higgins

Chasing Harry Winston – Lauren Weisberger

The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom

Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

I need some ideas for books to read this summer! Any suggestions?

Life in transition – constantly changing and moving

All throughout high school, and right before college, my dream was to become a medical doctor. I spent my first two semesters as a biology student, and quickly switched to Journalism for my third semester after realizing I suck at both math and science. During my transition, I imagined myself as a world-class journalist working undercover in a foreign country with hopes of exposing the deepest, darkest stories of our lifetime. I still get wrapped up in marathons of Law and Order on occasion, but I never wanted to be a detective. I just like the investigation part.

During the summer between my junior and senior year, I interned with Discovery Channel in the Communications department. My career then seemed to veer in the direction of a life living in a ritzy city, becoming a successful publicist, and dominating the entertainment industry with my cunning charm and wit…. Okay, fine — working in the entertainment industry and hoping to survive.

After my last semester of college, the real world came knocking on my door, and the job search began.





Nothing. I had hundreds of resumes out all over the nation and had not one little inkling of interest. Apparently the real world came knocking with depression and rejection as uninvited guests.

Then I ran into my scuba instructor from a few years back, and his company happened to have an opening that was a perfect fit for me.

It’s weird – the directions our lives take! I guess my point is, when you step back and look at the bigger picture, our lives are constantly changing. Whenever some negativity starts creeping up on me about the direction my life is going, I always think about how much my “plan” has changed.

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” – William Feather