My Recipe Resume & Grown-up Coloring Books

Warning: I am about to chat. One idea leads to another and then another and I have a feeling I am going to “cover it all” in this one post. It’s one of my strengths…

So, this story starts last fall while I was in the Chicago area for a Pioneer Woman cookbook signing. The following day, I went into an artsy paper/stationery/craftsy kind of store because I was drawn in like a moth to a flame. I happened to be looking for a gift for a male friend who was going through a health “moment” (so why not go into a girly paper stationary store, right?) and a sales person pointed out a few things, one of them being grown-up coloring books. She said it was the new “big thing”. I loved the idea, but the designs in all of the books were very detailed for my tastes, and not very masculine for my friend. I chose the least feminine book and thought that it might give my friend’s mind a bit of a break from life when they needed it, even though it might not really be their “thing”.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about this new trend of grown-up coloring books. (And you may notice that I keep saying “grown-up” coloring books instead of “adult” coloring books. There IS a difference and the “adult” ones are not of the PG material that I keep my topics to for blogging, and most of my daily life as well!)

I just had a feeling that this was going to be a bigger trend, probably because I like to color and if I like it, then the rest of the world must too – or something like that. Any hoo, my entrepreneurial spirit was sparked and I wanted to design coloring books that were less detailed and that were themed around the moments in life that interest me: eating and foods, steamy coffee cups, outside life, kitchen and homey moments, simple quiet moments etc. The problem was that I am not an artist, nor do I have any idea how to create a coloring book and even if I did, I definitely am not a publisher and would have no way of getting my coloring book into the hands of interested people.

That didn’t stop me from wanting to do it though.

Little by little, I noticed that the grown-up coloring books started showing up in stores, catalogs and online advertising. And little, by little, I started to see a shift from the very detailed pictures of tigers and ocean life and other things that were beyond my scope of interest to see emerging pictures that had less going on that ventured out into different themes. For my birthday, my mom found a grown-up coloring book that had some drawings that appealed to my inability to handle detail. It also appealed to my daughter, who does like detail and she did a wonderful job coloring and she took over my book.

Meanwhile, I began to try out my hit or miss drawing skills and work on my own coloring pages, whether they would ever go anywhere or not. (Beware family and friends on my gift list…can you tell what will be in your stockings this coming year??)

The moment that I have both been looking forward to and dreading finally arrived last week when I was at the checkout counter at the grocery store. A new coloring book that was all about foodie and homey things and one that was not full of teeny tiny detailed pictures to color was right there for sale. It was exciting because I do like to color and usually use my wee one’s coloring books because I am a lover of children’s books. So, now there was finally a grown-up coloring book for me. But…it also meant that someone had beat me to it. But if anyone were to beat me to it, one of the best sources did it – the Taste of Home magazine crew. (In a moment, I will share with you my attempt at working for Taste of Home/Reiman Publications.)

grownup coloring book

It’s beautiful and makes my heart so happy. The illustrator, Carolyn Gavin, did a wonderful job and what I like best is that her drawings are not “perfect”, meaning that it looks hand drawn and real, not perfectly formed by a computer. Circles are not even and items do not have symmetry, they are real and wonderful. I love it. You know how I feel about “just like perfect”.

Here is one of the pages in the book…

grownup coloring book

Love it!

I have been dabbling in my own drawings and I have a small following – my daughter. She is an art and crafts lover and it occurred to me after I bought this book that I may lose it just as quickly as I found it. I did. She made the first coloring marks in my new foodie coloring book. I had to go get another one because this was one of the few items that I was not willing to share with my children. But…we happily sit together coloring in our own books.

Ok, so, let me tell you about the time (3 to be exact) that I applied to work for the Taste of Home magazine. Do you need a coffee refill?

Nine years ago, my husband began a job in Milwaukee, WI so we embarked on a new journey. He had to move out here to start work ahead of me and I stayed behind to deal with our house and finish up my own employment. On one of my trips to visit him, I discovered the Taste of Home magazine because I had not heard of it in my NY world. I loved it and since they had a test kitchen and a store based in the area, it was a perfect chance for me to switch careers. I had spent most of my time in office settings and I felt that this new move needed a new career too because I was ready to test out my creative side.

I applied twice to different positions with the Taste of Home test kitchen and never heard from them. I suspect that my lack of related skills, training and education may have slightly had something to do with it. But, not being one to take a hint nor to give up easily on my dreams, I applied for a third time to a new position. This time, I did it differently and heeded the advice to make my resume standout.

Are ya ready for this one?

I sent my resume in the format of a recipe.

Yes, I did.

I do not exactly remember what it said but I am sure it included something like, “3 cups of hard work, 2 cups of determination and 3 tablespoons of quick learning” or something clever like that. Once again, I never heard from them but I am pretty sure that if I were ever to get behind the scenes in their test kitchen, my “recipe resume” would be hanging on the wall as a stress relief. Well, at least I could make them smile…OK, probably laugh like fools, but I will take it. There is a quote in their new grown-up coloring book from Max Eastman that says, “It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor.”

I got that covered.

Until my creations take the world by storm, my beautiful happy daughter is right by my side with enthusiasm as I show her a new drawing or some new note cards I designed that have just arrived in the mail from the printer. She loves them and wants a piece of all of it.

I will still work on my own coloring pages and let you know when my coloring book is available. Just don’t hold your breath.

Here’s a “taste of me”…

ready to eat coloring page

Perfectly imperfect. There is no symmetry or perfection in my circles either but not in a good way!

As far as a job at Taste of Home goes, I will let that dream pass. It’s probably for the best, for all.





The Tails of 9 Bernard