I’m Back!

I’m back. Sorry for the hiatus. As the summer ended I found myself investing myself totally in work. I began working six or seven days a week. I slept very little, ate horrible food, and streched myself so thing I was beginning to get lost in the everyday motions. One moment it was summer and I was gardening, the next it was winter and I was spinning like a top.

But, some big changes have happened in my life. I have found a great apartment, which I need to make feel more like a home asap. I am writing all the time: for a magazine, for a newspaper, and for a foodie/life/how-things-are-made blog. In doing all these things I have lost sight of why I was writing in the first place, to find gratification in this adult life.

That brings me back here. It’s time to get back to work doing art, reading, writing for fun, making things and cooking. I have also up’ed my photography game with a companion blog, pintphotography.wordpress.com. I am excited to see what 2012 brings for Gradification!

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Summer Sundays

I love sundays. The week looming before me drives any thoughts of boredom out of my head and I am left planning, cleaning, and then winding down with a good book and a glass of wine. It is my no-stress, productive day of the week. Suits me perfectly.

This sunday was mostly in the kitchen. Now that my garden is in full swing in the backyard, I am brining in zucchinis, squash, green beans, and peppers daily. This bountiful summer glut however means I have loads of veggies I need to either gift away or use up in my kitchen. One of my favorite ways to use zucchini is to make zucchini bread. I am sure some of you winced hearing that. I am not talking sickly sweet zucchini bread. I am talking blueberry cinnamon zucchini bread. Spicy, moist, a little sweet, it is the perfect summer breakfast…er, or snack…food. Here’s the recipe for you to try at home.


  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or 1 cup oil if you choose to not use apple sauce)
  • 1/2 apple sauce
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, apple sauce, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.
  3. Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

I spent the rest of the day prepping for this week, drinking iced tea, and digging the lazy, hazy days of summer.

And spending time in my garden harvesting all my goodies…

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Dress This Mess: I CAN Wear High-Waisted Jeans

I was reading a fashion magazine the other day, doing a little research and a little procrastinating, when I came across the all too common “How To Find the Perfect Pair of Jeans” article. Every girly magazine that ever was has counciled us women on this. If your are curvy wear these, if you are short AVOID these. They tell you how to dress and what will definitly fit your body while at the same time preaching the whole every figure is beautiful and unique. If we are so unique then why are you telling us what will fit our body types? How can you type cast us at all? Unfortunatly, telling me that because I am 5 foot nothing I SHOULD NOT or SHOULD AVOID AT ALL COSTS high-waisted and wide leg jeans doesn’t mean I won’t crave looking like this.

So, to all you nay-sayers and fashion dictators, I say this: I am 5 foot nothin’, proud of it, I am breaking your rules and wearing high-waisted, 70’s inspired, wide leg jeans and making them look good!

(Jeans, Gap 1969 high-rise wide leg jeans $30 on sale; tank, madewell $14; bag, vintage $20; belt, gifted vintage; sunglasses, American Eagle $15; Necklace, JoAnne Fabrics $1.99)

No matter what the fashion police say in the magazines, a woman’s body cannot be slotted into a category like “more curvy,” “boyish,” or “bold.” Finding the right fit really does take trying things on and taking risks. If you follow the guidelines all the time, you will look like every other ho-hum Judy walking down the street. If you like a look, try it. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. But at least you tried.

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A DIY: Collage Therapy

What do you do when you stress? Well, I work with my hands. I am the kind of person who feels much more fulfilled when I am doing something that allows me to fiddle in a productive way. I woke up and looked up at my wall and realized for someone who loves art it was startling blank. Being the crafty sort I always have and array of canvases tucked away. Today, the project was a collage, not of the hokey high school art project kind. The plan was to take a square 24″ x 24″ canvas and using good ol’ Elmers Glue and magazine and newpaper bits, collage a japanese cherry tree. They are often depicted using watercolors on rice paper. It creates an abstract, blurred vision of the vibrant pink and red blossoms. Here’s some examples:

Instead of watercolor, I chose to collage it in hopes of creating the abstract look for half the price of paints. Warning this type of project is time consuming. However, the results are very rewarding. My empty wall will finally have some life displayed on it. And I will begin to feel a bit more settled in this life after college with my collage. (Excuse the very very bad pun. I couldn’t resist!)

And now, a look at how my project came together. On a side note, I apologize for not including photos of the newspaper and branch creation process. My fingers were far too gluey to handle a camera.


Total cost: Canvas $15.00, Magazines and Newspapers (Recycled) $0.00, Glue $1.99.

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The Fancy Food Show

One of the perks of having a family in the food industry is that I get to tag along to major trade shows in the nation. This weeks adventure was to the Fancy Food Show in DC. So I hopped on the metro and headed toward’s China Town and the Convention center. The Fancy Food Show is a massive exhibition for gourmet food producers. Think along the lines of independent chocolatiers, olive oil specialists, brewers associations, mom and pop BBQ Sauce makers. If you can dream of food, you will likely find it here. Two floors, two blocks long, lined with companies trying to spread the good word about their products by giving you samples. Could you ask for a better day out? I don’t think so.

Of course, I went as a rep for the family company: doing research and offering info to possible customers about our services. I may not have told you this yet, but I am not set on working for the family. The goal is to get a job in DC, away from the family, in the world of publishing and media. So far the search has been tough. But, going to the Fancy Food Show allowed me to do more than work for the family biz. Turns out, these types of events also bring in many different types of media businesses like indpendent publishers. I went armed with resumes and prepared to woo whoever I could. Often you will find that the larger companies at these shows send the run of the mill sales person. But for some smaller businesses you will get the chance to chat it up with the CFO or CEO of a company.

I ate my way through the show, sampling international delicacies, crazy modern snacks, and good ol’ mom and pop recipes crafted by the family to perfection. Stomach full, I networked and put my best foot forward to meet some people. I walked away with two job suggestions and the card of CEO of a production company.

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Playing with self portraiture.

Have you ever seen that self portrait that is so charming and thought, I am sure I could do that too. All you need is a mirror right? Get this, it is not so simple. My birthday gift to myself was a new Nikon SLR camera. I am in love with it. But I am still learning how to use it. Here is what an exploration of self portraits looks like. Suggestions how to make this an easier process are welcome.

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Meeting people in new places.

I am pretty confident in saying this is a dilemma that every recent grad faces when they move to a new place. You are the new kid on the block once again. Except this time, unlike college, you don’t have RAs and professors forcing you to interact with your peers. In fact your peer group no longer consists of only your age group. So how does a young, single, budding professional like myself go about meeting new people?

A friend suggested go read a book in a local cafe and strike up conversation with a stranger. So, I tried it. Let’s just say two americanos, fifty pages of 1984, and one failed conversation attempt with a barista later and I didn’t make any new friends. It’s a one in a million that you will just bump into someone cool that you can hit it off with right away.

So, I am turning to the internet, as per usual, for advice on the subject. Google search phrase, “how to meet new people in your area.” Most articles began with something catch phrase like, “Starting out fresh? Move to a new area? Have a baby? You don’t need us to tell you how hard it is to meet new people.” As cheesy as these openers are, I can relate.

What I was able to glean from the barrage of websites on how to meet new people can be surmised by this simple list:

1. Go out as often as you can. According to meet-people.ws, yes that is a real website, you will not meet people sitting in front of your TV. Well that’s a give in. Thanks meet-people for that obvious insight.

2. Smile often. The Happiness Project suggests this will make you look warm and inviting. Again, does anyone get the feeling that these suggestions are pretty obvious?

3. Join something: a group, a club, an organization! As cheesy and obvious as this one is, I think it is far more likely to help me than the first two. This of course does require you to spend some money, but who doesn’t love a good yoga/gym /self-defense /[insert appropriate activity here] class? God knows I do.

4. Join an online dating community. With dozens of leading online dating websites, it seems practical if not simple to join one of these. If dosen’t result in a romantic relationship it will possibly open up doors for friendships.

5. Meet friends of friends. It seems like a sure bet that if you like your friend, you are likely to like their friends. Ask everyone you know if they know people in the area that you could get a drink with or just get to know. You might luck out.

All this had led me to take this advice, as foolish as it makes me feel.Every one of these. I am joining a yoga class. I have made a profile on a dating website. I am smacking a smile on my face… permanently! I am asking my friends for help. Here goes nothing. If you have any more suggestions please share them with me. I will keep you updated on the ins and outs of this adventure.

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Filed under Meeting People, Random Musings