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G. Tolley

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies — October 28, 2017

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

I’ve never claimed to be a professional cook, but I think I have a good grab on the culinary arts. Sometimes when I’m testing out new recipes, things don’t always turn out like they are supposed to. With every failure comes an opportunity for something better. For instance, the recipe originally began as an attempt to make scones. I’ve concluded that my mistake in the recipe came from me not having cold enough butter and not using wheat flour. Still, I was left with a delicious cookie dough that might be better than what the scones could have come out as.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cup Oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 6 tablespoons Butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Using a food processor on a high-speed, blend the oats for four minutes. Sift the oat powder into a bowl to remove any large pieces. Measure out 2 1/2 cups of the oat flour, and put it into a large bowl.
  3. Now combine the salt and baking powder with the oat flour. Then take the unsalted butter and cut it into the flour with your hands.
  4. In the same bowl, add the wet ingredients of heavy cream, eggs, and vanilla extract. Once well mixed, combine in the chocolate chips.
  5. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake golf ball sized cookies for 16 minutes.
How To Pick A College According To A College Freshman — October 25, 2017

How To Pick A College According To A College Freshman

According to The New York Times in 2014, 65.9% of high school graduates will attend college. Though I’m still in my first semester, I think I made the right decision in what college I chose. For me at least, these are the factors I had to think about before applying for schools.

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College is expensive, and it’s continuing to become more expensive. When looking at colleges you need to consider what kind of education you are getting for your money.

Today most high schools offer dual credit classes that for the most part can be transferred to colleges. While in high school, I was able to get 33 credit hours (a little over one year) done before I even graduated. Where I’m from a lot of students attend a 2-year community college before transferring to a state college or larger school. They can save thousands of dollars this way and get their general education courses done so that when they transfer they can start taking classes towards their bachelor’s degree.

Contrary to popular belief, you are getting almost an identical education at a community college to a state or private school. Students also need to explore opportunities that aren’t their first choice schools. You should apply to multiple schools, but you need to think about the money you’re spending. Sure, going to a big college with successful sports teams and parties is all fun and games… until you have to pay it back. Doing research on schools around you is an important part of deciding where you should apply.

Scholarship opportunities should also be a factor in your choice. Free money is free money. Look at financial aid packages too. Getting loans from the school is easier than getting private student loans.  

 

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For many, the location of the school plays a significant role in school choice. The decision of going to college close or far away from home isn’t the easiest to make.

The setting of the campus is essential as well. Do you want to attend a traditional college town, be in a city, or attend a rural county college?

My favorite thing about sticking around my home is that on the weekends I get to see my friends and family. Even though I’m living on campus the first year, next year I’ll be able to commute back and forth. My school is in the largest city in my state, but it doesn’t feel like a college town. Most students are from around here and commute everyday. Plus, I don’t have to learn a whole new city, and I already know the hot spots.

 

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Another topic to consider is the student population of the school. With small schools, you can most likely get more hands-on training and help from teachers. Also, these schools normally are more focused on the education and you get to know people better.

Traditional large schools are mainly lecture classes. Larger schools tend to have more diversity in the students and staff and offer a more extensive range of majors and activities on campus.

I’ve found a middle ground in a mid-sized state school. Though I do have some large lecture hall classes of 70+ students, my major based classes are smaller (usually less than 25 students a class).

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You might want to go to the same school with your friends or a party school. None of that matters if the school doesn’t offer your major.

For me, I could’ve chosen almost any state school for my anthropology degree. Luckily my school that’s only 30 minutes away from home is the best in the state. Look for schools with unique opportunities for your degree. For example, my school offers hands-on experience working at a museum on campus.  

 

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Is it close enough for you to commute? Does the school offer on-campus living? Living on campus is awesome but does get expensive.

 

I’m sure I’m missing a few different factors, but if you have any suggestions leave a comment below.

 

-G.Tolley

Tomato Basil Soup — October 7, 2017

Tomato Basil Soup

Recently I’ve been in the mood for soup. Before I tested this recipe, I’ve never made tomato soup from scratch. Though the canned version is easier, making it at home means you get to control what you’re putting inside of it.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Basil
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2 crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 cups Chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar

Directions

  1. Either in a large blender or food processor, blend the tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic, and onion until it’s a liquid consistency. (I like my tomato soup to be more liquidy than chunky, so I like blending this before I start.)
  2. In a large pot, bring the tomato base to a boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn down the heat to low, and stir in the sugar and butter. Mix until they melt and combine in.
  4. A quarter cup at a time, pour in the heavy cream while continuing to stir.
  5. From here, add in the basil and thyme.
  6. Let this simmer for 5 minutes, and serve.
September Favorites + Playlist — October 1, 2017

September Favorites + Playlist

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero

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According to my friends, listening to audiobooks is not considered reading. I have no clue what they are talking about because I’m getting the same content, but just in another format. (My mini rant is over now.) Though actually I finished it last month, I didn’t complete The Disaster Artist until after I posted last month’s favorites post. If you haven’t heard of the book, it’s about the real life friendship that the film The Room is based on. It’s entertaining, endearing, and most of all god damn funny. The Disaster Artist is currently available on Audible.

 

Burt’s Bees Lipstick

http://www.ulta.com/lipstick?productId=xlsImpprod13251275

Time after time I keep going back to Burt’s Bees beauty products.The main reason I like this is that unlike other drugstore lipsticks, it isn’t overly waxy. Also a lot of drugstore brands have shifted toward the liquid and matte lipstick trend, but I still enjoy the creamy and glossy look of regular lipstick. You really can’t go wrong with a nude lip color either!  This color leans towards the pinker side of nude, but I think it’s still a good match for me.

 

Movie Pass    

https://www.moviepass.com/

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I’ve made it one of my goals for the year to see more movies in theaters. Being on a college gal’s budget, I have to draw the line somewhere. With the Movie Pass card, I can see a new movie every day of the month for $10. It’s magical! All you have to do is check in at the door of the theater. Then funds are transferred into the card in order to pay for it.

 

Nature Valley Granola Crunchy Oats N Honey

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There is nothing like a big bag of granola to hit the spot after a long workout at the gym. Just kidding, it’s basically full of sugar. Though that doesn’t stop me from eating it as a snack.

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Vinyl

https://www.amazon.com/Guardians-Galaxy-2-OST/dp/B071WDJTWG/ref=tmm_vnl_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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When it comes to music, it’s rare for me to like a whole album. That’s why I love greatest hits albums and movie soundtracks. You get a little of everything. Just like the Guardian’s film, this features both the film score and the soundtrack.

September Playlist

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/graciecraftshop/playlist/7f1suKvH5l0Wb9rrYmGArY

Pumpkin Spice Twisted Log — September 30, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Twisted Log

The dog days of summer have ended, and the weather has officially declared it to be fall. I couldn’t be happier to trade in my shorts and t-shirts for jeans and flannel. As simple as this recipe is, it will leave your guests impressed with your baking skills.

Ingredients

Log

  • 1 can Pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (17.3-oz.) Package Frozen Puff Pastry (2 sheets), thawed but cold
  • 1 Egg

Icing

  • 2 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Powder Sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Unwrap and roll out a sheet of puff pastry onto a floured surface. Spread out half of the pumpkin mixture onto the pastry. Make sure to leave an inch border around the edges.
  4. Roll up the pastry into a log starting from the longest end. Down the center, carefully cut the log halfway. Twist the two halves together, and pinch the ends close. Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the second sheet of puff pastry and the remaining pumpkin mixture.
  5. In another small bowl, whisk together the egg. Brush this on top of the two twists, and finish it off by sprinkling some sugar on top.
  6. Bake this for 20 to 25 minutes or until the outside is golden brown.
  7. While this is baking, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
  8. After the logs have cooled for five minutes, drizzle the icing on top.

 

Fall Bucket List — September 27, 2017

Fall Bucket List

Once again summer has passed and fall is here. The fall weather is slowly coming in, but it doesn’t matter because I’m in the autumn mood already. I’ve drafted up a list of everything I want to do between now and the first day of winter.

  • Friday night football
  • Go to a pumpkin patch
  • Learn how to make homemade apple cider
  • Start a new show
  • Have a bonfire
  • Go stargazing
  • Decorate or carve a pumpkin
  • Read at least two books
  • Add some festive flair to my room
  • Have a horror movie marathon
  • Buy some new scents for my room freshener
  • Host a fall brunch with my closest friends
  • Make some bomb caramel apples
Baked Apples — September 23, 2017

Baked Apples

If you ever want to impress someone with your cooking skills but don’t want to put in the effort, you should make this. It’s warm, and it’s the perfect comfort food for fall.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 4 Medium Apples
  • 1/3 cup Pecans Half
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Crumble

  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Oats
  • 1/8 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/8 cup Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons Butter, chilled
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.

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Directions

  1. Begin by washing and cleaning the four apples. Chop one of the apples into small pieces. This will be the main part of the filling of the other three apples.
  2. In a small skillet, melt four tablespoons of butter on a medium-high heat. Once that is finished, add in the apple pieces, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir this for six minutes with a nonstick spatula so that it caramelizes.
  3. Carve out bowls out of the remaining apples; it doesn’t have to be perfect. During my test run of this recipe, we got good results using a sturdy spoon.
  4. In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter. If your butter is still hard, it would probably work best if you used your hands for this. With this, make three equal sized balls and smash them into 1/2 inch thick disks.
  5. Fill the carved out apple bowls with the caramelized filling, and top them off with a crumble disk.
  6. Place the apples onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

 

Orange Chicken — September 16, 2017

Orange Chicken

I could eat PF Chang’s orange peel chicken every day. Instead of spending $20 on a meal, I recreated it at home. Unlike other orange chicken, it’s not deep fried so I don’t feel as bad when eating it.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb Chicken Thighs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 Cornstarch
  • ¼ cup +1 tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 1 cup Orange Marmalade
  • 1/2 cup Original BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Orange, zested
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

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Directions

1.) Marinate the chicken in 1/4 cup of soy sauce, cornstarch, and water. Let this sit for an hour in the fridge.

2.) In a large bowl combine orange marmalade, a tablespoon of soy sauce, BBQ sauce, red pepper flakes, the zest of an orange, garlic, and ginger.

3.) Heat a skillet on a medium-high setting. With tongs, carefully put the chicken into the oil to fry it. (You must make sure you remove any excess marinade for the chicken.) Let this cook for five minutes, and flip the chicken over. Then allow this to cook for an additional three minutes.

4.) Pour the sauce over the chicken in the skillet. Lower the temperature to medium and allow this to simmer and thicken for four minutes.

Fall 2017 Makeup Routine — September 13, 2017

Fall 2017 Makeup Routine

My makeup routine is constantly evolving. I’m always up for trying new products and adding them into my daily regimen. I’ve compiled a list of my current favorite beauty items and why/how I use them.

Olay Original Active Hydrating Beauty Fluid

http://www.ulta.com/original-active-hydrating-beauty-fluid?productId=18492&sku=5021366&_requestid=2520266

From the beginning of my makeup days, my mom always told me to make sure to moisturize before putting on makeup. Honestly, I will use almost any face lotion for this, but normally it’s either made by Olay or a generic version of it.

 

Clinique All About Eyes

http://www.ulta.com/all-about-eyes?productId=xlsImpprod10791765

On top of my moisturizer, I put on a thin layer of eye cream. I’ve been using this Clinique cream on and off for a couple of years, and I’ve just started using it regularly again. I have mega dry skin, so it’s important for me to moisturize before I put on foundation so it isn’t flaky. Plus, I’ve noticed in the past month of using this that my under eyes have become brighter.

 

Clean and Clear Persa-Gel

http://www.ulta.com/persa-gel?productId=5258&sku=5022309&_requestid=2542424

Besides from having dry skin, I have acne prone skin. I like using this for any zits that might of pop up overnight.

 

ELF Mineral Infused Face Primer- Green

https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/mineral-face-primer?dept=best-selling-makeup&color_id=10543

I don’t know how well this primer works, but I’ve been using it a while now, and my foundation seems to not come off during the day.

 

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Camo Color Correcting Pen- Green

http://www.ulta.com/facestudio-master-camo-color-correcting-pen?productId=xlsImpprod16211179

Recently I’ve discovered color correction. This Maybelline pen is just green colored concealer, but it masks red tones on my skin.

 

Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation

http://www.ulta.com/fit-me-dewy-smooth-foundation?productId=xlsImpprod2980151&_requestid=2577798

I’ve always trusted Maybelline when it comes to my foundation. When I look for foundation I want a full coverage and a dewy look, and I get both of them in this foundation. I find this formula works pretty fantastic for me because it’s relatively easy to blend. I apply it with an Elf Foundation Brush (https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/foundation-brush?dept=tools-single-brushes) and then buff that out with another Elf Powder Brush. (https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/studio-powder-brush?dept=tools-single-brushes)

 

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer- Light

http://www.ulta.com/fit-me-concealer?productId=xlsImpprod2980149&cmpid=PS_Non!google!MassCos_Maybelline&CAWELAID=330000200000457726&CAPCID=109169553630&cadevice=c&agid=616944090&catci=aud-297714761031:kwd-36647976835&gclid=CjwKEAjwi97NBRD1zZSdkr2-4isSJAD11VlgSjUxi_5us0bIKwhlA_m-62qFyjMF5W8eZP_nFgoMHRoCSf7w_wcB

I originally bought this only because it had the same name of the foundation. I only need this for red spots and under the eyes. Again with this, I buff it out with the ELF powder brush.

 

Tone Correcting Powder

https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/tone-correcting-powder?dept=face-facepowder

To set all of this so far, I use my Tone Correcting Powder from ELF. I do find it evens out my foundation and makes sure it doesn’t go anywhere during the day. If you haven’t figured out by now, I love ELF brushes, and I put this on with an ELF Complexion Brush. (https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/complexion-brush?dept=makeup-brushes)

 

ELF Baked Highlighter- Gem

https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/baked-highlighter

Though ELF says this is a highlighter, this is just a mega pigmented baked blush. I use ELF’s Powder Brush for this step. (https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/essential-powder-brush?dept=tools-single-brushes)

 

FaceStudio Master Strobing Stick Illuminating Highlighter

http://www.ulta.com/facestudio-master-strobing-stick-illuminating-highlighter?productId=xlsImpprod14371013&_requestid=2607786

Next up, I have the Master Strobing Stick. It’s super creamy, and I apply this to my cheekbones with the same ELF Powder Brush.

 

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter

http://www.ulta.com/facestudio-master-chrome-metallic-highlighter?productId=xlsImpprod16211169

I love my skin to be glowing, so on top of the Strobing Stick, I dust on this highlighter. Typically, I place this on my upper cheekbone up around my eyebrow. Again, I use another ELF brush, but I like having a little more control using an Angled Brush. (https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/angled-blush-brush?dept=tools-single-brushes)

 

Physicians Formula Magic Mosaic Multi-Colored Custom Light Bronzer- Warm Beige

http://www.ulta.com/magic-mosaic-multi-colored-custom-light-bronzer-in-warm-beige?productId=xlsImpprod1790025

I try to add some color back into my face while also “trying” to add some dimension with this Physicians Formula Bronzer. For this, I use the Bronzing Brush from ELF. (https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/bronzing-brush?dept=tools-single-brushes)

 

Ulta Eye Crayon- Cheers

From here, I move onto the eyes. I guess Ulta doesn’t make this eye crayon in their in store brand anymore. Anyways, this color is called Cheers and was part of a holiday gift package. This texture is similar to cream eyeshadow, so my dupe for this is Smokey Quartz (http://www.ulta.com/cream-eyeshadow?productId=xlsImpprod5721070) from the Ulta collection. I wear this on its own or as a base for other colors.

 

Urban Decay Naked Smoky

http://www.ulta.com/naked-smoky?productId=xlsImpprod12711105

Urban Decay’s Naked Palettes are a yearly splurge makeup item for me. Though my Naked 2 Palette is my favorite of the series, I get way more use out of the Naked Smoky. First of all, Black Market is almost an identical match to my eyebrows. I’ve tried several different brow powders in the last year, but I keep going back to this. The dozen shadow also makes almost any neutral smoky eye look.

 

Maybelline Eye Studio Brow Define and Fill Duo- Deep Brown

http://www.ulta.com/eye-studio-brow-define-fill-duo?productId=xlsImpprod12651003

I only use the pencil half of this duo. The filling powder is ok, but it isn’t a direct match for me. The waxy defining pencil is dark enough to match the black powder from the Naked palette. It’s perfect for marking out my arches.

 

Ulta Automatic Eyeliner- Java

http://www.ulta.com/automatic-eyeliner?productId=1612

From there I line the top and lower thirds of my eyes. Personally, I prefer brown eyeliner over black because it’s more natural looking. This Ulta eyeliner is also slightly sparkly.

 

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara- Blackest Black

http://www.ulta.com/perversion-mascara?productId=xlsImpprod10921002

I’m not even 100% sure why I bought this mascara since I wouldn’t usually spend more than $6 on mascara. I like this mascara because I keep a good curl, but I will probably not repurchase this.

 

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm- Woppin’ Watermelon

http://www.ulta.com/chubby-stick-moisturizing-lip-colour-balm?productId=xlsImpprod10792013&sku=2225334&_requestid=4556164

I almost never get out the door with lipstick on, but I’ve repurchased this colored lip balm several times since I first bought it in seventh grade. It’s not quite glossy, but it isn’t matte. Pro tip: Don’t leave it in the car on a hot summer day.

Baked French Toast — September 2, 2017

Baked French Toast

There is nothing more I miss when I’m at college than weekend breakfasts with my family and my dog Skip. This recipe is quite simple compared to regular french toast because you just have to pour it into a pan. Plus, you don’t have to waste your morning watching and flipping individual slices of toast.

Ingredients

Toast

  • 1 French Loaf
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup Milk
  • ½ cup Half & Half
  • ¾ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoons Cinnamon, ground

Topping

  • ½ cup Flour
  • ⅔ Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

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Directions

  1. Cube the bread into 1-inch pieces and place into a greased 9×13 pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients that you need for the toast, which are the eggs, milk, half & half, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  3. Pour this over the bread so it can soak overnight. Cover it and put it in the fridge for at least six hours.
  4. The next day, mix all the dry ingredients for the topping together. Then cut the butter into the topping with your hands until it crumbles.
  5. Sprinkle this over the top of the bread and bake for 50 minutes.