Recent Watch History

From about Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day, I go through a period where I binge-watch shows like crazy. I’ve compiled a list of what I’ve enjoyed so far in no particular order. One of my weird habits is that I’ll watch a few different shows at the same time. This happens because I’ll start a show and get bored of it, then end up coming back to it later. This isn’t even close to everything I’ve streamed, but on average, about half of the things I watch ends up being utter garbage.

 

What I’m watching now
The Magicians- Netflix ( Currently on Episode 6)

Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson in this Sci-Fi channel original television show.

Conspiracy- Netflix ( Currently on Episode 2)

Your paranoid uncle’s favorite theories about Nazis and the Royal Family, all wrapped up in 12 hour-long episodes.

Luke Cage- Netflix ( Currently on Episode 3)

This third Marvel Netflix series revolves around a man with extraordinary powers who is trying to restore his quiet life by taking down the New York underground.

 

 

Series of Unfortunate Events- Netflix

The acclaimed children’s book series by Lemony Snicket finally gets the adaptation it deserves. The first season revolves around the Baudelaire orphans jumping from guardian to guardian and the mystery behind their parents’ deaths.

The Crown- Netflix

A young Queen Elizabeth struggles between balancing being Queen and a wife. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Smith and Claire Foy both won Emmys for their roles in the show.

Yoga Hosers- Netflix

Kevin Smith’s attempt at making a teen film based in Canada. (That’s all you need to know.)

Barry- Netflix

A biopic that explores Barack Obama’s time at Columbia University in the early 1980s.

Degrassi Next Class- Netflix

A guilty pleasure of mine that’s the newest version of the Degree series. It goes through the everyday lives of students at Degrassi Community School.

Red Oaks- Amazon

This was hands down my most favorite new show of 2016. Red Oaks centers around a young man who works as a tennis pro at an exclusive country club during the summer.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Netflix

Buffy Summer hunts and kills supernatural creatures.

Supernatural- Netflix

Sam and Dan Winchester hunts and kills supernatural creatures.

The Man in the High Castle- Amazon
Set in an alternate timeline where the Allies never won WW2 and the Nazi party and Japan control the United States. In this world, a series of short films depict the Axis losing the war, causing a young women to try to figure out where the films came from.

Fuller House- Netflix

The Tanner family is back in the follow-up series to Full House, featuring the same catchphrases and wacky scenarios they’ve been using since the 1990s.

Things To Do Now Before Graduation

Senior year should be your most exciting year of high school. For me, it’s all about having a shortened class schedule and having only two core classes; however, come August I have a full course load at college. Still, I got a hell of a lot to do until graduation. This guide is directed towards seniors who have already been accepted into a college or intend to trade schools. Since I’m no expert, the best thing to do is to sit down with your school counselor or a parent and go through your game plan if you haven’t already.

1.) Fill out FAFSA
This financial aid application is needed for most schools and helps you figure out how much financial aid you can receive. The process of filling it out takes less than an hour, but you will need your parents’ tax returns from last year. According to the FAFSA’s official website, you should submit your FAFSA by the earliest financial aid deadline of the schools to which you are applying. This is usually by early February.


2.) Take a final set of ACT/SAT/standardized testing

If you’ve already been accepted into college, you’ve already taken at least one set of a standardized test. Most colleges require a score of  21 on the ACT OR over a 1070 on the SAT to be accepted. Taking the test more than once can increase your test scores, which only means more money and scholarships in the end.

3.) Start filling out scholarships
Everyone likes free money. Start off by applying for local scholarships when they come available. Then start looking for scholarships online. A few great websites for this are Scholly and Unigo. ** Never give out personal information such as a SS number for scholarships.
**

4.) Buy cap and gown
If you haven’t already, BUY YOUR CAP AND GOWN. All schools I know of require you to buy one if you want to graduate.


5.) Go to prom or your formal dance equivalent

Even if you have just some smidge of interest in going to prom, go! Sure, it’s kind of cheesy, but if you go with your squad I promise you will have a good time. You can always leave halfway through and go to IHOP or a friend’s house.

6.) Buy a yearbook
Your school’s yearbook staff, or whoever creates your book, puts a lot of time and effort into trying to capture your senior year. If you wait longer to purchase it, the price typically goes up.

 

7.) Send out graduation invites and announcements

Just send them out! You might get money from your relatives.

 

Momofuku Birthday Cake Balls + Cake Fail Story

I was planning on sharing a recipe and a few pictures of a bomb Momofuku Milk Bar inspired cake that I was going to make for New Years. The only issue is that it didn’t turn out so well. Everything was looking good until I baked the first of three cakes in my six-inch spring pan. The recipe didn’t create a lot of batter to start off with, but I still followed through with the directions thinking that I’d just have thinner layers or that they would rise in the oven. Secondly, the recipe I followed used a seven-inch pan, so I thought I would need to let the cake bake longer than the time stated. Each layer came out about 1/6 of an inch and baked for only half of the time. After baking the three thin layers, they cooled as I created the icing and topping. Next came the assembly. I started off with placing down the first layer and painting on a milk and vanilla mixture to keep it moist. Then, I frosted on a thick layer of icing with some of the rainbow streusel topping on top. When I repeated this step, the following layer of the cake crumbled into pieces when I tried to pick it up. Trying not to panic, I tried to jigsaw it back together on the cake plate. With semi-success, I moved on to the frosting. The dense icing didn’t pair well with the crumbly layer beneath it, creating a clumpy mess. Next, I added another layer of topping and moved on to the final layer. Again, the cake fell apart as I added on the icing and streusel. It was a hot mess. I’d already spent two and a half hours making this cake, so I wasn’t going to give up just yet. One thing I learned from many years of unsuccessful baking is when in doubt, just dump it in a mixer. In my standing mixer, I tossed in the cake and combined it with the remaining icing and topping. After mixing it on a medium setting for a minute, I found myself with a fantastic recipe for cake balls. Below, I’ll list my recipe I used, but to make it easier on yourself, just bake the cake in a 9×13 pan and bake it for somewhere between 30 to 45 minutes. I haven’t tried this, but make sure to watch your cake and use the toothpick test to make sure it’s done. 

Momofuku Birthday Cake Balls Recipe 

Ingredients 

For Cake

  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cups rainbow sprinkles

For Cake Soak

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Frosting 

  • 8 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For Crumb Topping 

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Starting with the cake ingredients, cream together the butter and sugars for two minutes on a medium setting. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, then mix again for two minutes on medium. Scrape the edges of the bowl and make sure everything is combined. Add in buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix on medium for seven to eight minutes or until it’s white. This part took almost 15 minutes for me. Don’t rush this part!
  2. Add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles) a little at a time. Make sure you mix this on a low setting so the flour doesn’t fly everywhere. Mix this for about one to two minutes or until everything is combined. Bake this in a greased 9×13 pan for 30 to 45 minutes or until the toothpick comes out.
  3. While this is in the oven, start on the frosting. Cream together the butter and cream cheese for two minutes on a low setting. After this, pour in corn syrup and vanilla and continue to mix for two to three minutes. By now this should be smooth and glossy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add in the remaining ingredients (confectioners’ sugar, salt, and baking powder). On a low setting, mix this until it’s incorporated. Set this to the side for now.
  4. After the cake is finished or if you have double ovens, heat the oven to 300°F. For the crumb topping, combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in a bowl. Pour in the oil and vanilla, and mix with a fork until crumbs form. Bake this for 15 minutes on a baking sheet.
  5. From here, either you can make a layered cake like I was attempting, or combine the cooled cake into a mixture with the frosting and topping on a low setting. Then roll them into 1 inch balls. Place them onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and put them into the freezer for an hour. 
  6. Melt down a bag of chocolate chips by placing them in a microwave-safe bowl and melting them on 30 second intervals. Then, drizzle this on the frozen cake balls.

G. Tolley

For the past six months, I’ve posted content revolving around movies and cooking every Wednesday. Later on I started branching out into other territories by writing on beauty and fashion. A lot of things didn’t work, and I felt stuck doing the same thing over and over. As of January 1st, anunorthodoxblogsite.wordpress.com is becoming gtolley.com. The new site is giving me the opportunity for a fresh start and the ability to write whatever I enjoy that week. The type of content might range from my vacation journals, reviews of the newest blockbusters, my Sunday brunch recipes, lookbooks, and my current Spotify playlists. One thing was clear from the beginning: this blog will not be orthodox.

2017 Goals

I couldn’t be happier that this year is over. With a semester left of schooling, I’m ready to head into the next chapter of my life. Until then, I’m stuck in suburbia working my butt off on a senior project and on this blog. As you might know, in four days this blog will become gtolley.com. Not much is changing except the URL and an extra post per week. To break in the new year, I want to set some goals for this website and me.
1.) Learn to properly budget time

I’m the queen of micromanaging, but I seem to never stick to schedule when it comes to my life. Learning to properly budget my time is a skill that I need help with in order to prevent procrastinating. I want to schedule 30 minutes a day to work on blog stuff so that on upload days I’m not staying up all night and getting no sleep.
2.) Keep in touch with people after graduation

Though I’m not going that far away, some of my friends are. Sure, we will still have our group chat where we share memes, but for the first time in forever, I’m not going to see my friends everyday.
3.) Try things that scare me

My life is predictable. I buy all my clothes from the same two stores and order the same thing every time at restaurants. I want to break the status quo and try things that I wouldn’t try in a million years. What’s the worse thing that could happen?

4.) Watch/ listen to more indie

This year I was terrible at going out and finding independent films and music. There are awesome movies and artists that aren’t produced by major studios that deserve recognition. I just have to find them.
5.) A fresh start

After living in the same small town for 18 years, people think they know you. Moving out is providing me with the chance to be whoever I want. I’m no longer forced to be the person I was in high school. Maybe I’ll run with a different crowd than I typically would, or maybe I’ll be called Grace rather than Gracie. Leaving home is going to be hard, but it’s giving me the chance for a clean slate and to become the best version of me.

Holiday Tag + Christmas Crack

Now that classes are over, the holiday season is officially here! I wanted to do something fun for you guys and help you get to know me a little better.
1.) Favorite Christmas movie?
The best way to kick off the season is by watching Christmas Vacation. It’s relatable because everyone has a cousin Eddie in their family.

xmas-vacation

2.)Do you start your Christmas shopping on Black Friday or wait until the last minute?

For me, Black Friday is the start of the holiday season. It’s a great way to get away from your family and get yourself some deals.

3.) Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
Typically it’s artificial, but in the past we have gotten a real tree. It’s just easier having a fake one because we have a dog who likes drinking the water, and no one wants to clean that up.

4.) Peeking at gifts or like being surprised?

I like to be surprised, but I always have a few ideas of what’s under the tree.

5.) Show us your ugly Christmas sweater if you have one.


6.) If you could be under the mistletoe with anyone, who would it be?

Tom Holland or Brooklyn Beckham

7.) Are you a pro-present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?

I take great pride in my gift-wrapping. Typically, it takes me a whole day to wrap everything because I don’t believe in gift bags.


8.) What tops your tree?
This year’s tree theme is green and silver. On top is a glittery sign that says Merry Christmas.


Christmas Crack

Christmas Crack is the ultimate snack to bring to any holiday party. It takes less than five minutes to make and only takes five ingredients. This recipe is typically made with crackers, but I used pretzels I already had at home instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 1-oz. packet Ranch seasoning
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 6 cups of pretzels

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. In a large gallon sized ziplock bag, mix everything together except the pretzels.
  3. Add in pretzels and shake until the pretzels are evenly coated.
  4. Put onto baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

DIY Mug

It is fact that America runs on coffee. Honestly, I can’t stand it. I know there’s hundreds of types of coffee all having their own different taste and smells. I think I’ll just stick to hot cocoa and tea. As the holiday season approaches, you might be like me and have a stack of people to buy gifts for. With a packet of hot cocoa mix, these mugs make a perfect holiday gift for any age.
The basic two things that you will need for this project is a mug and oil-based sharpies or other water safe paint pens. It’s optional but rubbing alcohol can help make your design last longer.
I found the best place to pick up cheap mugs is at your local Dollar Tree or Dollar Store.

Start off by removing any stickers or tags that might be on the mug. Then with a cotton pad or paper towel, clean off the surface with rubbing alcohol. Doing this locks in your design by having a dirt free surface for the paint to stick to.
Have your design picked out and in front of you. Pinterest is where to go for finding inspiration for these kind of projects.

Using your markers, draw on the design.

For people who can’t draw to save their life, make a stencil like what was used in the DIY pumpkin craft. If you can’t do either, bribe a friend who can.

Any mistakes you make can be erased before they dry using rubbing alcohol.

Let this set for three days so it can properly adhere to the mug. Place the mug into a cool oven on a baking sheet. Turn oven on to 425°, and let it bake for one hour. Under no circumstances should you open the oven during this because the change in temperature could cause the mug to crack.

After this, turn off the oven and let the mug cool inside. For best results, let it sit overnight.

I love this project and already whipped out a few extras for presents. These mugs are machine washable, but I would only put them on the top shelf.