On unfinished business, some updates and life

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It’s been a long time since my epitaph on my fourth week of summer in Washington, D.C. in 2014 went live in this space.

Since then, some things have happened: I turned 21, got a job, started writing a book, started traveling a lot, turned 22, drank more coffee than you can ever imagine, met some great folks, paused writing a book and got promoted.

That about sums up the year.

I don’t have a whole lot to share in this post, but let me offer some quick updates on the updates:

  • In December, I announced (and somehow funded) a project that would involve me writing a book about the relationship between millennials and the U.S. political system. While I remain very excited for this book (yes, it’s still happening!), it has been tabled temporarily. However, it’s coming soon. I originally hoped to have it published by the 2016 election; however, due to life getting in the way a bit, I haven’t had as much time as I would’ve hoped. But that’s changing soon. So expect more on that front sooner rather than later.
  • Earlier this month, I was promoted. I am now the Manager of Strategic Initiatives for StateScoop — I’ll be focusing on building and maintaining the already-existing community that we’ve formed around the publication. This will involve me working within my own company and working with both the private and public sector to help make our publication bigger and better than ever. It’s a very exciting time (and why I haven’t had a whole lot of time to write a book).
  • For most of 2015, I’ve been doing a great deal of traveling (for work!). I’ve been to Atlanta, Georgia; Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio and Sacramento, California. What’s left for the year? Another trip to Sacramento (I’m actually writing this post from Insight Coffee Roasters in Downtown Sacramento), San Francisco, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Nashville.

That about covers it.

Watch this space for more thoughts while traveling, as well as some musings on my long-drafted-but-not-published posts on graduating college, the egotism of Kanye West (and it’s inspiration!) and much more.

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Summer 2014: Week 4

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Another very busy week here in the District, so busy in fact that this post is coming almost halfway through Week 5.

During Week 4, I wrote about drones, tapped into my weather camp days and covered mobile disaster preparedness and took a look into the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s new open government plan.

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In non-work-related news, I cooked and was lucky enough to spend a few hours chatting with some promising young reporters from my alma mater, Delaware Valley High School, at the Lincoln Memorial.

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Below is a full list of everything I covered for FedScoop, and a new addition for me, StateScoop*.

As always, for a running tally of my work with FedScoop (and StateScoop), head on over to the FedScoop page of my website.

Recipes from Jake: CouScoop

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I’ve been wanting to make wellness a priority for a while now, but it’s tough when you live a busy and crazy life. However, now I’ve been, in a sense, forced to make it a priority (forced is a strong word, but you get the picture), thanks to my work at FedScoop.

The team has begun a wellness challenge, and my competitive edge has taken over. I don’t just want to win, I want to dominate.

One of the categories in the challenge that will allow us to get some points is by sharing a (healthy) recipe with the team. I’m going to take that a step further and share it with the world.

So, in honor of the organization that inspired it, I give you…

CouScoop.

Couscoop

Serves five.

The recipe I created serves five total. I cooked a large batch at once and kept the leftovers to give me dinner for the next couple of days. 

Ingredients:

– 10oz Couscous

– .85 to 1lb of Fresh Boneless Chicken Breast

– 1 Green Bell Pepper

– 1/2 Sweet Onion

– Sriracha

– Olive Oil

– Apple Cider Vinegar

– Freshly-ground Black Pepper

– Garlic Powder

– Cinnamon

 

Process:

– First things first, you’ll want to get your water going for your couscous. I followed the instructions on the box, since I had never made couscous before, and it had me put a dash of olive oil and 2 cups of water into a pot and bring it to a boil.

– While the water is boiling (it will happen quicker than you think), slice up your chicken into thin, long slices that will make it easy to pan cook. Also, if you are taking the healthy route, be sure to trim off any small amounts of fat that may exist on your chicken breast. If your water hasn’t started boiling yet, chop up half of an onion and entire green pepper into small, bite-sized pieces.

– When the water started boiling, I dumped in my entire 10oz box of couscous, turned off the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

– In a wok or large frying pan, coat the bottom of the pan with a very thin layer of olive oil and turn on the heat. After about 45 seconds, it should be warm enough to dump in your onions and peppers. Add a coating of freshly-ground black pepper to the vegetables while you’re cooking them early on.

– After about two minutes of cooking the vegetables, add on the chicken and continue to flip and stir the contents of the pan so that everything gets cooked evenly.

– A minute or so later, add a dash of apple cider vinegar – just enough so that it pools a little at the bottom and begins boiling. After this, add some garlic powder and only a single small dash of cinnamon.

Note: Be very careful with the cinnamon, if you use too much it will overpower the entire dish. Also, a good thank you to my housemate, Nate, who inspired the apple cider vinegar / cinnamon mixture.

– As the chicken and vegetables cook, the water from the two will join with the apple cider vinegar to form a simmering, light liquid at the bottom of the pan. Allow these to simmer while you check on the couscous.

– By now, your couscous should be ready to go. The water will be almost (if not entirely) gone. I added a couple sprinkles of black pepper to the couscous and gave it a stir with a chopstick (it had solidified too much to stir with a regular cooking spoon).

– When the pepper is mixed into the couscous, go ahead and dump all the couscous into the frying pan with the vegetables and the chicken.

– Spin it around a little bit making sure that the couscous absorbs the flavor of the contents of the frying pan, turn your heat off.

– Serve on a plate with sriracha on top.

 

Again, this recipe was intended to serve five. The portions are relatively small, so perhaps it shouldn’t be an entire meal, but it was for me.

You can substitute a more complex carbohydrate for the couscous if you’d like.

The dish cost me a total of $12.08, and clocked in at 304 calories per serving, 44g of carbohydrates, 3g of fat, 27g of protein, 8g of sodium and 4g of sugar, according to MyFitnessPal.

 

Summer 2014: Week 3

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I’ve hit my stride here in Washington, D.C., and I’m very glad that I’ll be staying here awhile. This is a fantastic city.

My “A Very DC Weekend: #” posts are on temporary hiatus, due to the fact that for the most part, I spend my weekends making more happen (that means I spend them at Staples).

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This (or as I’m writing this, last) week, I enjoyed memorial day festivities in the district, wrote about the White House Science Fair, wrote another story about the postal service and attended an event with Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

Below is a full list of the stories that I wrote this week:

For a running tally of what I’m doing at FedScoop, head on over to the FedScoop page of my website.

Summer 2014: Week 2

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I’ve officially been in Washington, D.C. for more than a week now, and what a week it has been.

I wrote a story about educational data mining, covered two hearings on Capitol Hill and did a video shoot at the World War II memorial. Tomorrow, I start at Staples in Washington, D.C.

But it’s Memorial Day Weekend, so it’s a fun weekend to be in the district. Stay tuned for more updates.

Below is a full list of the stories that I wrote this week:

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And here’s the video I shot and worked on for FedScoop:

For a running tally of what I’m doing at FedScoop, head on over to the FedScoop page of my website.

Oh, and a piece I wrote earlier this spring for Campaigns & Elections was just posted, so you can check that out here. Watch this space for links to my upcoming profiles for the Class of 2014 C&E Rising Stars, and a story out in their latest issue.

A Very DC Weekend: One.

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There’s something very freeing about living in a city – it’s the ability to go anywhere and do anything, not being tied down to having a car and, without the responsibility of being a college student, not having any work outside of work. Granted, that will change when I start making more happen again at a Staples in Washington, D.C., but for this weekend, I enjoyed taking the time to relax, be active and take advantage of a fantastic weather weekend.

On Saturday, I got myself up and out of bed pretty easily. It seems like I’m adopting the old routine of waking up early-ish and not wasting the day away. It’s fun to get older.

I hopped on my bike, and began the nearly five mile trek out to an old favorite of mine – Gravelly Point Park. The park sits on the edge of the Potomac River and at the end of one side of the runway for Reagan National Airport.

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At Gravelly, I sat and talked with my grandmother on the phone, ate some lunch and read my book. In the process, I got a terrible sunburn, but that’s to be expected when you’re as pale as I am and you don’t wear sunblock.

I took advantage of the long trip to Gravelly and focused on seeing some of my much-loved DC sights on the way back. I know there are people who have lived here for a lot longer than I have, but I’m not sure I will ever tire of the monuments and landmarks in this city.

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On the way back, I stopped by the Jefferson Memorial, passed the (newly-opened!) Washington Monument and, of course, rode past the White House.

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On Sunday, I had breakfast at Union Market in Northeast DC. Union Market is basically an indoor farmer’s market, but done really really well. The place is mildly expensive, but for a once-per-week treat, it’s definitely worth it.

After Union Market, I hopped on the Metro and went down to Nationals Park to see the Washington Nationals take on the New York Mets – nothing like a good baseball game to truly make you feel at home. I went with my good friend Alaina, who had just arrived in town for the summer the day before.

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Naturally, the Nationals won.

In an attempt to avoid the crowds, I decided to walk up to a different metro stop on a separate line to get back home. Well, instead, I was distracted by the allure of the Capitol building.

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I ended up skipping the metro and walking the nearly three miles home. Worth it.

Even when I start working on the weekends, I’m still looking forward to being able to grab my little moments of DC life in my off hours, provided I’m not too exhausted. It was a good weekend, and definitely a great way to gear up for another busy week at work.

For a quick recap about my previous work week, check out this post. And, in case you’re curious, you can catch up on all of the work I’ve done so far with FedScoop (my latest employer), right here.

 

Summer 2014: Week 1

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Three days after graduating on Saturday, May 10, I moved to a small room, in a small house in Northwest Washington, D.C. The day after, I started work at my paid summer internship with FedScoop.com.

FedScoop, based in Georgetown, covers federal IT and technology.

I started work on Wednesday, and in the first three days of work, I’ve written and published six stories. I’ve covered one foundations attempts to modernize America’s election process, a new plan by the White House to modernize infrastructure permitting and how one digital communications director created a guide to Google Analytics for other government agencies.

Below is a full list of the stories I wrote this week:

For a running tally of what I’m doing at FedScoop, head on over to the FedScoop page of my website.