prom

10 Things To Do Before Buying A Prom Dress

Here in the States, prom season is quickly approaching. That means millions of girls are going to be looking for formal dresses. From experience, I found doing these things before I went shopping is helpful in finding the perfect gown.

1.) Established A Budget

Who is paying for your dress? If your parents are, ask them what their limit is. Keep in mind you might have to pay for shoes, hair & makeup, tickets, dinner, etc. If you are paying, how much can you save until you have to buy a dress? Unless you buy something you can wear to other events, you are only going to wear this once. I’ve bought formal dresses in every price range. From this, I’ve learned you don’t have to buy a “traditional” prom dress. Second hand, vintage, and renting are also options that are budget friendly; it’s almost certain that no one else will have your dress this way.

2.) Find Inspiration

Looking through the prom tag on Pinterest is always a good starting point in finding a dress. Typically these kinds of dresses are crazy expensive, but they can still provide inspiration. Each year I pick up a few prom magazines, such as a Seventeen’s prom issue. They are fun to look at and can show you how to style different kinds of dresses.

3.) Check Your School’s Dress Code

Lucky for me, my school’s dress code doesn’t apply to prom. With schools with stricter codes, it never hurts to ask. Typically, either the counselor or Vice Principal can help you with these questions.

4.) Allow Plenty of Time

You can’t always walk out with your prom dress after you purchase it. I would start looking for dresses at least two months in advance. This is to make sure you have enough time for alterations. In some cases, the dress you try on is just a sample dress, and they have to order it.

5.) Buy Dresses During A Sale

Department stores have sales all the time, usually happening around holidays. Also, buying out of season can get you huge savings as well.

6.) Buy Undergarments

Before you head out looking, wear the appropriate undergarments. This can cause a dress to look completely different on you. Maybe even try a body shaper. My current favorites are the ASSETS by Spanx available at Target and Kohls.

7.) Keep An Open Mind

You might walk into a store thinking you know what you want, but end up leaving with a completely different idea. It’s important to try on every kind of dress, because you really don’t know if you like something until you try it on.

8.) Don’t Go Alone

Honestly, it’s no fun trying on dresses alone, and it’s good to have a second opinion. Bring a parent or a few friends, but don’t bring a huge group.

9.) Don’t Buy The First Dress You Try On

It’s very tempting to just buy the first dress that you try on that fits nice, but you need to keep looking. If you’re worried that someone might buy it before you come back, put it on hold. You never know what the next store might have.

10.) Buy A Dress That Fits You Now

Don’t buy a dress that you have to lose 20 pounds to fit in. Just buy a dress that fits, and you can always have it altered.

 

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Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

The highlight of each week is having breakfast with my family on Sunday mornings. As much as I would like to make myself a nice breakfast each morning, I just don’t have the time. On certain mornings I have extra time, and I’ll make something like this. This pancake recipe is almost foolproof and is somewhat healthier than traditional pancakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Ripe Banana, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Oats
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions 

  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender, and pulse until it becomes a liquid.
  2. Spray a small skillet on a medium heat with oil. Pour about 2 tablespoons into the hot skillet to form a pancake. I found with this, recipes that make full-sized pancakes always come out underdone.
  3. Flip the pancake after a minute and a half. Then let the other side cook for one minute.

 

yoga

Thoughts on Yoga Hosers

Have you ever seen a movie so bad that you had to tell everyone about it? For me, that would be Yoga Hosers – the 2016 “attempt” at making a teen action comedy by Kevin Smith. Over the holiday break, I watched this movie for the first time. It must have been VERY late at night, because the only thing I remember about it was that it was terrible. Yoga Hosers is the textbook definition of nepotism, as Smith cast his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, and her best friend, Lily Rose Depp, as the two leads. This movie is like driving past a car crash because you just can’t look away.

  1. Do you think Kevin Smith wrote all of the songs in this movie?
  2. I don’t think that many people would want to come to a mini-mart within a span of ten minutes.
  3. When will Austin Butler stop being cast as a teenager?
  4. These people’s Canadian accents are almost worse than their acting.
  5. Why would anyone trust a guy named Yogi to teach you yoga?
  6. Don’t you hate it when you have to pause a movie just to read the title cards?
  7. Where did the idea for this movie even come from? Smith says the idea for Tusk and Yoga Hosers came to him during a podcast. I think he has a deep-seeded hatred for Canada.
  8. Harley Quinn and Lily Rose aren’t too bad singers, but they keep making awkward eye contact with the camera.
  9. Wiener dogs aren’t evil.
  10. Movies like this give millennials a bad name.
  11. Much like Yogi Bear, I don’t think Kevin Smith understands how copyrights work.
  12. Ladies and gentlemen, this is why you always bring a weapon.
  13. These special effects are borderline Syfy Channel level of bad.
  14. STAN LEE CAMEO
  15. When one of your villains is a foot tall Nazi sausage, I expect to have more sausage jokes.
  16. Yoga isn’t going to help you here.
  17. Why is the Bratzi’s insides bright orange?
  18. As an American, I have no clue how the Canadian justice system works. This is a complete guess, but I don’t think that they have suspects share the same police interrogation room.
  19. If I had a secret lab, I probably would put it in the bathroom too.
  20. This guy’s accents are very bad – like an annoying theater kid trying to do a British accent level of bad.
  21. After reading some reviews, I’m surprised that no one brought up how Yoga Hosers blatantly ripped off countless other movies.

 

In many ways, this was just a remake of Smith’s cult classic film Clerks. The only difference was that this time, it was teenage girls in Canada with Nazis. One thing I truly liked about the film was the graphics, but that was about it. Like with most Kevin Smith films, it seemed like the film was just one big inside joke that no one understood. I get that artists should take risks, but most of Smith’s career has been a risk that has had no payoff.

As I start to enter adulthood, I’m starting to realize that these kinds of movies aren’t designed for me. This was made for pre-teen girls, and I know that I probably would have loved it seven years ago. That doesn’t give it a pass though, because the plot was still trash. Leads Harley Quinn Smith and Lily Rose Depp weren’t terrible in their roles and had chemistry, but their acting still felt kind of stiff in front of the camera. Kevin Smith has both directing and writing talent, but he needs to start making content that isn’t just for his small fan base. I think Smith needs to work on projects that he doesn’t have full control on. When someone has too much power, things always fall apart. Currently, Smith has been killing it on the CW. He directed my favorite episode of The Flash, “The Runaway Dinosaur”. Smith is currently working on the final film in the True North Trilogy, with the kind-of-sequel to Tusk and Yoga Hoser called Moose Jaws.

brownies

Easy Valentine’s Day Brownies

Sure, I’m single, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what people want for Valentine’s Day. No one wants flowers, stuffed animals, or cheesy heart-shaped jewelry; they want brownies. 

Ingredients 

  • 3/4 Cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking powder 
  • A Pinch of Salt

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. To get the best result, mix until the egg yolks are broken and are fully combined with the other ingredients. 
  2. Then in another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the flour slowly, and mix on a slow setting. When the batter doesn’t have a gritty/ powdery texture anymore, it’s ready. At this point, if you want to add anything extra, such as chocolate chips or nuts, mix it in now. 
  4. Pour this into a greased pan, and tap the pan onto a hard surface to remove any air bubbles. At the last minute, I decided to add caramel into the batter. To do this, I put five big dollops of premade caramel sauce into the batter and swirled it around the pan with the back of a spoon.
  5. Even though I recommend using an 8×8 square pan for this recipe, I made mine in a 7 1/2 x 11 1/2 sized glass pan. Whatever size you end up using, check the brownies after the 25-minute mark with a toothpick. Keep in mind that they continue to bake even after they are removed from the oven.
chicken

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 large Frozen Chicken Breasts
  • 1 packet of Taco Seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups Mild Salsa

Directions

1.) Place the chicken, seasoning, and pico de gallo into a crockpot on low heat. Let this cook for 8 hours.

2.) After the eight-hour mark, the chicken should be falling apart. With a fork, shred the chicken. Then serve with either brown rice or use a taco meat.

jedi

What does “The Last Jedi” Mean?

On Monday, January 23rd, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII would be called The Last Jedi. Since last December when The Force Awakens was released, fans have been theorizing what the next installment would look like. I believe this title gives a lot more than expected.

Starting off, we currently know that there’s four confirmed living force sensitive people in the Galaxy: Rey, Kylo Ren (Ben Solo), Supreme Leader Snoke, and Luke Skywalker. Both Kylo and Snoke work for the First Order and would be considered Sith, not Jedi. That leaves us with Luke and Rey. I honestly don’t think this title is talking about Rey because Episode VII’s title, The Force Awakens, referred to her finding the force. It doesn’t make sense to have two movies back to back referencing Rey in the title.

Luke is the last Jedi to be trained by the last “true” Jedi Master, Yoda. Episode VIII is supposed to start where VII ended, and Rey is nowhere close to becoming a Jedi. The ghost voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi even tells Rey when she picks up Luke’s original lightsaber that “these are your first steps.” I have no doubt that by the end of this trilogy Rey will have become a full Jedi, but as of now she is just Luke’s new apprentice. Plus, in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens, it even refers to Luke as “The Last Jedi.”

“Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.”

– The Force Awakens Opening Crawl

From an official statement from Disney & Lucasfilm, it was said that The Last Jedi will be the next chapter in the Skywalker Saga. This had me thinking that Rey might turn out to be Luke’s daughter, but I think if they went that route it would be a letdown.

The new red logo also tells us a lot about the movie. Red signifies danger, and in the Star Wars franchise it is the color for the Sith. Maybe we will get some flashbacks of the two training before Kylo went full emo. This color was used in both Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith. Both of these films were the darkest of their trilogies and both featured major deaths.

The question is… who is going to die? My theory is Luke. This will pass the torch on to Rey, and then she will become “The Last Jedi.” I feel like his death will be in the last scene of the film, and it will be the “Luke, I am your father” moment that we got in Empire. At the same time, I don’t think they will kill anyone because they just killed off Han.

Now that we have the title, I would expect to have a teaser trailer within the next two months. You never know… they might even drop it next week during the Super Bowl.

chicken-pasta

4 Ingredient Pesto Chicken Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a 16 oz box of spaghetti
  • A 6.3 oz jar of Barilla pesto
  • 4 medium sized chicken breasts
  • A pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Begin by filling a large pot halfway full with water, and put on a medium-high heat setting. While this is heating, add in 1/2 box of spaghetti and a pinch of salt. From here, fix the noodles according to the directions on the packaging.

 

  1. While this is boiling, cut up the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Throw them into a covered skillet and let them cook through. When there’s no pink left, drain any juices off the chicken. Then put the chicken back into the pan, letting them get a nice and burn-like crust on them.
  2. By now the pasta should be done, so go ahead and drain it. Put the spaghetti back into the pot and mix in the jar of pesto, mixing with kitchen tongs. Once evenly coated, add in the chicken.
cool-supplies

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.

 

2016-favorites

2016 Favorites


HELLO 2017! Even though 2016 wasn’t the best year ever, I still found a lot of things I liked.


Easy on the eyes
Newt Scamander

A fellow Hufflepuff, Newt Scamander joins my long list of fictional characters that tickle my fancy. Though his eye contact skills are poor, I can overlook that.

newt

BagoGames Film Fallout Podcast #39 – Fantastic Beasts at The Edge of Seventeen November 23, 2016 From Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/bagogames/31083632901 Via Creative Commons


Women who slayed
Leslie Jones

From being the number one fan of the Olympics to starring in one of the summer’s most anticipated films, Leslie Jones won 2016. Well, her website was hacked… but that didn’t stop her! It even made it into a couple of her different SNL skits.

lesil

Archivo:Leslie jones.jpg From Wiki Commons https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archivo:Leslie_jones.jpg Via Creative Commons


Biggest Obsession
Starbucks Mugs

Ever since I laid eyes on the You Are Here Mug Collection from Starbucks, I’ve been obsessed. Depicting the highlights of specific cities in an Art Deco style, these mugs are the number one souvenir I look for when I’m out of town.

Best of Binge-watching
Red Oak – Amazon
Though it’s not my typical series I would watch, Red Oak centers around a young man who works as a tennis pro at an exclusive country club during the summer. The talented ensemble cast brings to life the characters in the 80s coming of age comedy series.

Glad you came into my life
Duffer Brothers – Stranger Things

The duo introduced us to the eerie world of Stranger Things, serving as the showrunners of the critically acclaimed series. Centering around the disappearance of a young boy in the 1980s, viewers soon realize that not everything is as it seems when a girl with supernatural powers appears. Make a free Netflix account if you don’t have one; you will thank me later.

stange-things

Stranger Things logo Wiki Common Via Creative Commons


Best Splurge Item
Instant Camera – Fujifilm Instax 8

Every once and awhile, you have to treat yourself. Instant camera photography is kind of an expensive hobby, but I buy the film on sale or in bulk. This model is great in both low lighting and in direct sunlight. Each picture has the vintage feel that you can’t get with an Instagram filter.

Best Fashion Purchase
Old Navy – Original Mid Rise Jeans

Anyone with thighs knows that chafing is an issue that causes the inside of the jeans to fade and wear down with time. For the past four years, I’ve exclusively worn only Old Navy jeans. After ripping over half of my jeans last winter, I knew it was time to repurchase my beloved pants. I love these jeans because they are high quality, have a slight stretch to them, come in a vast range of sizes and colors, and are cost efficient. The problem I came across when I went to repurchase them was that Old Navy changed the jeans’ styles and sizes again. Following an hour of intense jean trying on, I found a new style of jeans that fit my body even better than before. I wear the Original Mid Rise Jeans in the regular length. I haven’t bought the skinny jean version because the straight cut fits like that on me already.

2017-post-head

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.