Jessie Spielvogel

Bahamas Shark Diving – Day One with the Hammerhead Sharks (and a #sharkieselfie)

Today was our first day out on the water with the hammerhead sharks, and it was AMAZING.

Day one is always a good time to bond with your fellow divers – you have newbies and veterans, photographers and observers, 20-somethings and 70-somethings. It’s a great mix of people from all walks of life. In our group, we have two lawyers traveling together from Switzerland, a firefighter from England with the best accent ever, one sign language interpreter from Kansas who spent 5 years in backwoods Alaska (I should add that her first scuba dive EVER was today, and she did it with hammerhead sharks), some folks from New York and the Dirty Jersey, one woman who lives in Turks because she decided Canada was too cold (amen), an edgy solo traveler from Japan, and then my dad and me, the Texans. The coolest part is that all of these people have little to nothing in common except for their love and passion for the ocean, which is what brought all of us together on this trip. We likely never would have found each other had it not been for this community + Shark Diver Mag, and we’ve already had such a great time sharing stories over beers, photos, and seafood.

After we got settled into the hotel yesterday (and after our ride in the sea plane!!), we spent the afternoon lounging by the pool and eating seafood and fried everything. We called it an early night, and woke up around 7:00am feeling rested and ready for sharks! Read more

Bahamas Shark Diving – Travel Day One

Paul Spielvogel, Peige Turner, and Yours Truly
Paul Spielvogel, Peige Turner, and Yours Truly

I arrived in Fort Lauderdale from Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon and stepped off of the plane to feel the hot humid air – my favorite! Most people think I’m weird for embracing the hot humidity, but it makes me feel right at home and happy.

I met up with my dad who was coming in from Houston, and we dropped our bags at the Fort Lauderdale Ramada hotel, and a friend of mine who lives here recommended we check out a local seafood joint called 15th Street Fisheries. It was a huge hit – it’s right on the water overlooking a dock where we could see fish swimming around beneath us and giant boats that I could never afford off in the distance. The food was great and the weather was perfect! Read more

Do you use Fitbit?

My mom started wearing a Fitbit a few months ago. “Probably something she bought on QVC,” I thought to myself (she loves ordering gifts from them). Since she ordered two, she offered one of them to me. I had no idea what a Fitbit was a the time, so I dismissed the offer by saying, “Mom, I appreciate the thought, but I will literally never wear that. And seriously, stop shopping on QVC.”

Fast-forward a few weeks, and I see people in my office rocking black bands around their wrists. I asked one of my colleagues what it was, and she told me it was her new Fitbit. Having completely forgotten about the conversation with my mom regarding her new wrist accessory, I asked what that was. She told me it was like a fancy pedometer that also tracks your sleep patterns. I thought, “hmm, that’s cool. I want to track my sleep patterns.”

I went online to do some research about this new Fitbit trend. Upon reading user reviews and all of its capabilities, I decided I wanted to try one out. I was speaking casually with my mom on the phone one day and told her that I was looking into getting a Fitbit. “Well, well, well,” she said, “noooowww you want a Fitbit. Well it just so happens that I still have that extra one. I’ll send it to you.” And that, my friends, is when my obsession began. Read more

Turtle racing in the heart of Houston. Yep.

When I was visiting my friends and family in Houston last week, I made my way to midtown to visit a friend from high school. As we were just about to part ways, I saw a giant crowd of people standing around an arena in the outdoor section of a popular local bar called Little Woodrow’s. I asked my friend what was going on, and he said, “Oh, it’s turtle racing,” as if it were a completely normal thing to pass while walking along a downtown street in a major U.S. city.

He asked if I wanted to watch for a little bit because they were just getting started… and I was clearly fascinated by the idea.


Side note: when I was in high school, I had two baby water turtles named Mike and Ike. I miss those little buggers.

With several other popular bars within walking distance, Little Woodrow’s hit the nail on the head when it comes to standing out from the crowd. This was a Thursday night at 9pm, and the place was completely packed with young working professionals ready to cheer on one of the ten turtles from the pack. Read more

Interview with Margie Newman: Intesa Communications, on Entrepreneurship

MIn this interview with Margie Newman, we’ll discuss how Margie left the corporate world to begin her own entrepreneurial endeavor, moved her life to sunny San Diego, and how she did it all as a new mom!

Margie was one of the first people I was fortunate enough to meet in 2010 when I had first graduated from college. I got off the plane from Houston to DC, dropped my bags at my brother’s house, went to a WWPR event at a bar somewhere in the city, and started networking and looking for a job. Margie took me under her wing, offered me guidance, introduced me to some fantastic public relations folks in the area, and is now running her own successful PR agency in San Diego, CA!

Check out the Intesa Communications blog here, and leave your thoughts for Margie in the comments section below! 

(Recommended “to-do list” tool from Margie in the interview: Good To Do)

Embed your Instagram photos ANYWHERE! Can I get a high five?

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.50.01 PM

I’m obsessed with Instagram. I love it for taking photos of everything I eat (yeah – I’m that obnoxious person), I love it for my clients, and I love it for stalking my friends through these little photographical filtered gems. Seriously – Instagram rates higher than Twitter in my book of nerdiness, and that says a lot because I LOVE Twitter.

Anyways, before today, there was no easy way to embed your Instagram photos to your website without the use of a third-party tool such as SnapWidget (which is still a pretty cool tool – it allows you to embed your entire Instagram stream to your website/blog). Read more

The Long, Hard Road of Entrepreneurship


This is a guest post from Jake Thompson, Compete Every Day

2013-06-07 16.16.56“What did I get myself into?”

Those are the words that consistently ran through my mind for the first two years of starting my own business. I was overwhelmed, and to be honest, had no idea what I was doing half of the time. It was a trial by fire, where every day you are learning on the fly. I think it’s a position most of us who start a business can relate to. We have an idea, we launch the idea, yet we don’t know everything that we will encounter.

And that’s the fun of it.

There’s nothing like finally taking that leap and launching your idea, turning a dream into a reality. It’s exhilarating, frustrating, motivating, and humbling all at the same time. I had spent a few years designing plans and strategies for businesses that never left the ground. Some were of my own creation, others of clients. Regardless, they ended up staying on paper and never found life. I started Compete Every Day with no retail experience, no fashion experience, and no ecommerce experience. But I had a lot of passion and I was going to be damned if this idea never came to life. So I launched it.

I’ve spent the last two-plus years grinding. I started with a small investment of my own and decided to bootstrap this business without investors for as long as I possible could. My goal was to build the business the right way – not by forcing a product down customers’ throats, but instead, building a powerful story and inviting others to be a part of it. I feel that’s the area we’ve been hugely successful with at Compete Every Day. I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way. Budgeting was one of my hardest skills, and it showed, but the experience gained from experimenting different projects has been valuable.

We grew over ten-fold in the last two years. We’ve already surpassed our 2012 sales only six months through 2013, and are anticipating a big remainder of the year with upcoming events. The same shirts that were sold out of the back of my car when I launched are now the same products being worn by professional athletes, country music stars, and individuals worldwide. The support and success has been overwhelming, but it was far from easy. The road has been long, difficult, and full of many failures along the way. But it’s a learning experience you could never find inside of a classroom or staring at pages writing a business plan that you’ll eventually lock away in a cabinet.

If you’re passionate about an idea want to launch, here’s what I’ve learned that should prepare you for the road ahead. Read more

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