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G. Tolley

Fruit Salad — July 8, 2017

Fruit Salad

For every BBQ or cookout, you’ve got to have some amazing side dishes to eat. This fruit salad is the easiest dish ever and is impossible to mess up. You know what they say: sometimes the simplest things are the best.

Ingredients

  • ½ Lime
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar Substitute
  • 6 cups Watermelon
  • 1 ½ cups Strawberries,
  • 2  ½ cups Seedless Grapes


Directions

  1. Squeeze the juice from half of a lime into a bowl. Add in the sugar substitute and let it sit and dissolve.
  2. Grab a cutting board and chop up half the watermelon to produce the six cups needed
  3. Remove the tops of the strawberries and julienne.
  4. Cut the grapes into halves.  
  5. Add the fruit to a large bowl and pour in the lime juice. Toss until coated

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Get To Know Me Tag — July 5, 2017

Get To Know Me Tag

Guess what?! G.Tolley.com just hit 1,000 views! In celebration of this, I’d thought I would do a getting to know me tag. Thank you to everyone who supported me over the past year.

1.) Are you named after anyone?

Yes. I was named after my great aunt.

 

2.) What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their hair.

 

3.) What is your eye color?

Light blue.

 

4.) Favorite smells?

IDK. Something really masculine, like leather or burning wood.

 

5.) What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A party planner.

 

6.) How tall are you?

5’ 6’’

 

7.) What was your favorite/worst subject in High School?

Favorite: History (If it didn’t involve a lot of research and writing)

Worst: Any science class

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8.) Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?

Ladylike, CineFix, PewDiePie, TheSorryGirls, Binging with Babish, Casey Neistat, Elijah & Christine, and Patrick (H) Willems.

 

9.) 5 things that make your average day better?

-Sleep

-Caffeine ( Diet Dr. Pepper preferably)

-One Hour without interruption in order to work on stuff

-Getting out of the house

-Going to the movies

 

10.) What is your favorite restaurant?

The Cheesecake Factory.

 

11.) What is your usual bedtime?

During the school year, it’s  about 10:30-11:00 pm. During the summer it’s way too late, so maybe about 3 am.

 

12.) Which languages do you wish you could speak?

Spanish.

 

13.) What could you have done to make today more productive?

Get out of bed.

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14.) What is your favorite movie?

Jurassic Park.

 

15.) What is your favorite song at the moment?

“As If It’s Your Last” by BLACKPINK

 

16.) What is the last thing you bought?

A milkshake and a movie ticket to Cars 3

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17.) What phone do you have?

Rose Gold IPhone 6s

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18.) What is your favorite color?

Gold, but some people argue that it isn’t a real color, so I guess right now it’s millennial pink.

 

19.)What is your greatest achievement?

Catching two dodge balls at band camp two years ago.

 

20.) What are your guilty pleasures?

Women’s wrestling or stealing mini shampoos and conditioners at hotels.

Red, White, and Blue-Cheese Burger — July 1, 2017

Red, White, and Blue-Cheese Burger

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the summer heat is beating down! We are in the middle of grilling season and for Americans such as myself it’s Fourth of July weekend. Hamburgers are the hands down the most American food out there. Right behind cheesecake, burgers are probably my second favorite food of all time.
Ingredients 

Buns

  • 1 ½ cup + 1 teaspoon Water
  • 1 packet of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 4 ½ cup All Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 5 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ¼ cups Baking Soda
  • 1 Egg

Hamburger

  • 1 ½ pounds Ground Hamburger
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cups Blue Cheese Crumbles

Sauce

  • ¼ cup Mayo
  • 2 tablespoons Ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Pickle Juice
  • 2 teaspoon Hot Sauce of Choice
  • 1 teaspoon Season Salt

Directions 

  1. Before we begin on the actual burger, we are going to need to bake the rolls. Normally I’d just buy buns, but I just have too much time on my hands. In a stand mixer or bowl, combine the 1 ½ cup of water, active yeast, and brown sugar. Let the yeast activate in the water for five minutes.
  2. Then in the same bowl, add the flour, salt, and melted butter in. Mix this by hand or on a low setting until no large flour clumps are left. If you are doing by hand, this is going to be sticky so knead this on a floured surface until smooth.
  3. Whatever bowl you were using needs to be greased with nonstick spray before placing the dough back in. Put it back in, and cover it to rise for an hour.
  4. After the dough has risen twice its size, put the dough on a floured surface. Cut it into 8 even pieces, and spray down a 9×13 pan. To make the bun shape, pull the edges of the dough wedge together to make a sphere shape. Once you’ve done this to all 8c of them, place them into the pan and cover again to let them rise for an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring about 8 cups of water to a low boil. Once the boil is constant, remove from heat and slowly whisk in the baking soda. Bring this back to a simmer on a low heat.
  6. To give the buns the pretzel crust, you are going to need to boil them. One at a time put the buns in the water. Start by using the steam side down and let it sit for 30 seconds. Then rotate it over for another 30 seconds. Quickly remove it from the water and drain off the water using a slotted spoon. Put it back into the pan and continue on.
  7. In a small bowl, beat the egg with one teaspoon of water. Brush the egg wash onto the balls. With a paring knife cut slashes on top of dough balls. Let them bake for 30 minutes.
  8. All you have to do for the hamburgers is combine the grounded beef with the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and blue cheese. Grill, bake, or pan fry this however you want the paddies.
  9. To top this all off combine mayo, ketchup, pickle juice, hot sauce,season salt in small bowl.
  10. You are probably going to have too many buns, but they should be fine for a couple of days in a ziplock back. Take one of the buns and cut it in half lengthwise. Take some of the sauce you made and smear it on the top bun. Then gather the rest of the condiments and put the patty between the buns.
June Favorites + Playlist — June 28, 2017

June Favorites + Playlist

Now that June has passed, I’m at the halfway mark of my summer break. Thinking back, I haven’t done much since I had my birthday at the beginning of the month; all I’ve done is studied and written essays for my summer classes. One goal of mine for July is to do something at least once a week – to get out of my PJs and have an adventure with my friends. I think now I’m also going to make a monthly playlist on Spotify, so this month’s songs will be listed below.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish

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One skill I’ve never mastered is painting my nails. When I get the chance to get them done, I want them to last. Normally gel polish has to bake on, but this formula dries like normal polish yet has the strength of gel. This summer I recommend the colors 184 Frill Seeker, 419 Redgy, and 240 It Girl.

 

Sailor Stuffed Alpaca

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Japanese kawaii culture is the definition of cute. (Literally and figuratively) Every summer, my two best friends go to a convention in Dallas and come back to show off their cool merch. This month, they picked up a stuffed sailor alpaca. IT’S SO CUTE! I love alpacas and llamas so much. It goes perfectly with my other alpaca named Eric.
Sephora Colorful Eyeshadow Carousel 288

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It seems like my recent go-to look has been a red smoky eye, but I’ve been experimenting with purple shadows this month. You get that bright pop of color without being too crazy. Typically shimmery shadows like this aren’t as long lasting as this is. Sephora’s in-store brand makeup is really underrated compared to others in its price category.
Louise et Cie Kambria Heels

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I don’t normally buy shoes, but when I saw these I couldn’t say no. Neutral shoes like these can be worn all year long and year after year. That’s why I don’t feel bad investing in pieces like these. Chunky heels make the shoe easier to walk in and gives you some support.

Anna Griffin Thank You Cards

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Thank you cards are always good to have on hand. The pink marveling and metallic lettering just stands out compared to other boxed cards.

June Playlist

 

Banana Peanut Butter Scones — June 24, 2017

Banana Peanut Butter Scones

Brunch is amazing. It’s true. You get the best of lunch and breakfast. Today, I’m going to combine one of two favorite ingredients into a buttery scone.


Ingredients 

Dough

  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cold & cut into small cubes
  • 2 ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 4 tablespoons Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts

Egg Wash

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Water

Peanut Butter Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  •  2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon All Spice

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Add butter to flour mixture, and with your hands work the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbs form.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, milk, and greek yogurt. Add the flour bowl into this, and stir until combined. Then stir in the walnuts until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the extra 1 cup of flour onto either a countertop or a cutting board. This is going to coat the surface to prevent sticking in the next step.
  6. Transfer the dough onto the floured surface and shape it into a flat 8-inch circle. To make these as flaky as possible, we need to make sure the butter is very cold. Put the 8-inch round into a plate in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  7. While that’s cooling down, make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water.
  8. After the time is up, cut the dough into 8 pieces. Put the scones onto the lined sheets. Brush on the egg wash.
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden on top. Let them cool for an hour on a wire rack.
  10. Finish them off with a peanut butter glaze. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and brown sugar. Drizzle this on top of the scones, or transfer it into a piping bag for a more uniform look.
A Start Of A New Chapter — June 21, 2017

A Start Of A New Chapter

It’s weird knowing in two months that I’m moving out and will be going to college. I’ve found that this is going to be really hard to describe in a way that you might relate or connect to in some way, but in a sense it’s like starting a new chapter.

The philosophy that when one door closes, another one opens has been true in my friendships. I have been friends with a lot of people over the years, but the core three have stayed the same.

I’ve grown up in a small town of about 8,000, and I primarily went to school with the same kids since birth. In Kindergarten, I met the most influential person in my life. She had long light brown curly hair and wore low-rise jeans. (It was the early 2000s, so I’ll give her a pass.) Though we are polar opposites, over the last 12 years she has practically become my sister. We basically do everything together. There isn’t a day when we don’t see or communicate with each other. I’ll admit, our relationship isn’t perfect; we’ve fought, kept secrets, and both have not been there for each other when we’ve needed it. At the end of the day, I’d do anything for her. She puts me in my place when I need it and pushes me to do my best. Most importantly, she doesn’t expect me to be anything but myself.

In third grade, I noticed two girls alone at the monkey bars. They were different from other eight-year-olds. Instead of talking about their favorite Disney Channel original movies, they discussed advanced level books that they read over the weekends. From the outside, the two seemed to have formed a friendship because they were the smartest in their class and shy introverts. They had been friends for just as long as my best friend and I, and they had already made up their own inside jokes with their deep connection. At recess, the dark haired one would do random impressions, ranging from a baby named Gwapes to a retired old man. The blonde one would do gymnastics tricks on the metal bars and laugh at her friend’s jokes. What I didn’t know then was the decision to go over and talk to them would change all four of our lives forever.

Later on, we began to evolve into the people we are now – all learning what we are passionate about and starting to learn where we fit into the world. My three friends all became excellent musicians, and together in high school we had a blast in marching band. (Yup, we were band geeks.) Together we went to early Thursday night movie previews, worked at the same pumpkin patch, and suffered through the same ACT. As much as we did together, personally I think we gained the most through our solo adventures. My curly haired best friend fell in love with theater production and design. She became the stage manager for our theater department during her junior and senior years and worked on seven plays. The dark haired one would go on and become our valedictorian and get a scholarship to go play music for a college next year. Together we work in collaboration on this blog, as I write and she edits. On top of her senior year classes, the blonde one took night classes to get her CNA license and also became a weeaboo on the side. Besides from shipping Naruto and Sasuke, she was part of National Honor Society. Inside of our party of four, we all formed different relationships with each other.

For example, the curly and black haired ones both got into cosplay and going to conventions with each other. Both the blonde one and I were peer leaders on our school’s color guard team and got to build a stronger relationship from that.

In a sense, we were all sisters and created our own little family during the past 10 years. We’ve told each other things we’ll take to the grave, went prom dress shopping, had a few weekend getaways, and created so many happy memories together. Though it’s far away, if we meet someone worthy of marriage, one day we will all be bridesmaids for each other.

I’ve never thought about a life without them until November of last year. I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a trip to Indianapolis for a journalism conference. It was my first time being away from home. I’ve been on vacation and went to camp before without them, but I got the first look at what my future looked like.

Education has always been a big thing for me. I believe the most successful people in life are always continuing to learn. The world around us is pretty interesting. All 7.5 billion people who live on this planet are connected in one way or another. Everyone has their own story to tell that’s expressed by their influences and culture. My decided major is Anthropology, and it looks at human variations in culture in the past and present. Particularly, my focus will be on Sociocultural Anthropology, and that deals with the behaviors and customs of historical culture and social groups. In the fall, I’m going to a state college that has the best Anthropology program in the state only 30 minutes away.

A lot of people in my hometown go to a community college for their associates, continuing on from there or transferring to a larger college afterwards. During high school, I took transferable dual credits and summer classes through my local community college. Taking advantage of this, I’ve already taken my first year and a half of college and only have a few general education courses left. It was smarter for me to go into the state college right out of high school rather than go to a community college. Certain classes I needed can’t be taken at the same time, and I’d waste a year and a half and only be a part-time student. My friends didn’t take as many or any college courses during school, so they are going to our local college. I’ve been used to not having them in my high school classes because we were all on different educational paths. Even if you didn’t have a friend in your class, you always knew someone in the class you could talk to.

People say age is just a number, but turning 18 is a pretty big milestone. I’m the youngest of my family, and basically until the end of time I will be known as the baby of my family. Somehow I never thought the day would come when I was an adult. (According to the parents, I’ll be a child until I start paying my bills.) While walking around alone on campus during freshman orientation on Monday, it kind of hit me. My three friends and I were all adults. While I was making memories at my new home, the curly and dark haired ones were off on their first day at their professional job. Then on the other side of the world my blonde friend and her sister were touring Europe for two weeks without their parents. I looked around and knew no one. Was this what the next three years were going to look like?

No. Part of college is making new friends. In order to live a healthy life, you must have friends. That’s one of the reasons why I’m living in a dorm next year. I’m going to take this once in a lifetime opportunity living away from home to meet new people. Plus, I don’t have to drive there everyday.

This is going be a new chapter in all of our lives, and my friends all making new friends at their college as well. That’s just life. Starting over might be scary, but it might be just what I need. There will never be anyone who can replace them. It’s not like they can’t just come visit me or me coming home to see them at anytime. Even as I write this, we are texting each other thinking up ideas for Halloween on campus and working on a spring break trip. Though my three friends are working this summer and I’m taking a full load of online classes, I’m sure we’ll make plenty more memories.

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Skewers — June 17, 2017

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

Summer is for grilling and fresh fruit, so why don’t you combine the two?
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breast
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Onion, minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce, low sodium
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 1 Pineapple

chicken

Directions 

1.) Before you start cooking, you need to soak the skewers in water for at least 20

minutes. This makes sure that they don’t catch fire on the grill.

2.) Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces.

3.) In a small saucepan, sauté the onion in the olive oil for 7 minutes or until translucent.

4.) Add in the garlic and ginger, and continue to sauté for a minute.

5.) To finish up the sauce, in the pan add the ketchup, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Let this simmer on a medium low setting for 10 minutes.

6.) Once this cools down, add half of the sauce into a large ziplock bag with the chicken to marinate for five hours.

7.) After this time is up, chop up the pineapple into 1-inch pieces. You want them about the same size of the chicken.

8.) Remove the chicken from the bag, and alternate threading the chicken and pineapple on the skewers.

9.) On a preheated grill, let the skewers grill for 5 minutes. After this, baste them with the extra sauce every 3 minutes.

10.) After 18 minutes of this, check if the chicken is done by cutting into it.

What you should be watching on Netflix now! — June 14, 2017

What you should be watching on Netflix now!

Netflix is a modern day multiplex of endless films and TV shows. Hopefully, this list can help you find your next obsession.

Riverdale

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The first season of this teen drama based on Archie Comics is a juicy mystery that links everyone in the small town to the disappearance of a teen.  (Think Twin Peaks meets Dawson Creek)

 

Young Frankenstein

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A classic Mel Brooks comedy that stars Gene Wilder who plays the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein.

 

Zodiac

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One of the most suspenseful dramas ever. It follows Robert Graysmith while he’s trying to unmask the Zodiac killer in the 1970s.

Terrace House

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The reboot of a Japanese reality television show that follows a group of three girls and three guys in their 20s living in a house together. What sets it apart from shows like Big Brother is that episodes are released at the same time as they are filmed. At the beginning and the end of each episode, there is a panel of viewers who provide commentary of what they just watched.

 

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

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Bill Murray plays the title character on his journey to kill a “jaguar shark” that ate his first mate.

 

Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King

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Hasan Minhaj’s stand-up comedy special for Netflix shares his personal stories of growing up in a first generation Indian Muslim family.

 

Being Human US & UK

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being human uk

Both shows follow the précis of a vampire, werewolf, and a ghost living together in a house. Now that I’ve watched the two shows, I can say that if you want something more fast-paced you should go with the US version. Though they share the same plot, the UK version draws things out more and is darker.

 

The Prestige

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Two rival British stage magicians try to one-up each other in order to attempt to create the best illusion show.

 

The Chase

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A quiz game show that has players work their way up a ladder of questions in order to win money. The twist is that they are also playing against a quiz bowl champion at the same time who can take their earnings away.  

 

Penny Dreadful

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The dark horror drama brings to life the penny dreadful stories of classic horror literature such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

 

Conspiracy

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The 2015 TV show where each episode examines cases related to conspiracy theories.

 

Arrested Development

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The four seasons of this sitcom follows the Bluth family going throughout their dysfunctional lives together. Unlike other sitcoms, at the end of the day they don’t really like each other that well.

Honey Crullers — June 10, 2017

Honey Crullers

Continuing down my Canadian cooking adventure is the Tim Hortons’s Honey Cruller.

Ingredients
Dough

  • 1 cup Water
  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Whites

Glaze

  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 ½ cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 3 tablespoons Milk

donut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or with a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a saucepan stir water, butter, sugar, and salt. On a medium-high heat, bring it to a boil. Once you reach the boiling temperature, add in the flour. Continue cooking this for five minutes and keep stirring.
  3. Add this into your mixer, and mix for two minutes to let it cool down. One at a time add in your eggs until they are completely incorporated. Then add in two egg whites, and mix them in as well.
  4. Now add this to a piping bag with a ½ inch star piping tip. Pipe the donuts two inches apart onto the lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake them at 450 for five minutes. After that, lower the temperature to 325 and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Don’t take them out when they are done. Just turn off the oven and open the oven door to let them sit in there for another 5 minutes.
  6. For the honey glaze, all you need to do is combine the lemon juice, confectioners sugar, honey, and milk in a small bowl.
  7. Once the crullers are cooled down, dip them into the glaze. Let them rest on a wired rack for three minutes to harden.
Jurassic Park Birthday Party — June 8, 2017

Jurassic Park Birthday Party

I think in another life I could have been a party planner because I’m always trying to find reasons to celebrate and throw events for. Out of all these shindigs, no party is bigger each year than my birthday. My birthday is towards the end of the school year, so it kind of acts like a beginning of summer soirée. Palm leaves have been everywhere this past year, and this inspired me to have a Jurassic Park influenced party.

 

As always, I begin on Pinterest looking for ideas. The two main places on the site where I usually find stuff is on the Holiday & Party explore page. If I’m looking for more specific pins, I go on the search bar.  

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Now that I found some inspiration, I started making a list of guests and getting out invites. If you’re interested in making your own invitations, I’d recommend using the website Canva. What I like to do is make the invites the size of a photo that can be printed off at Walgreens. It’s cheaper than having them professionally done and is easier than printing them off at home.

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From there, I got to work on the decorations. If you have a best friend as crafty as mine, you have to take advantage of her free labor. Off of Pinterest, we made four big display pieces for the party.

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Photo booths have become a staple nowadays for parties. For this backdrop, you will need three bundles of yarn, 1/4-in x 100-ft sisal rope, and a 1-inch dowel rod. Full instructions on this backdrop can be found on Ruffled Blog. http://ruffledblog.com/diy-suspended-tassel-backdrop/

 

Next, we made a huge Jurassic Park sign. There isn’t instructions on this, but I’ll try to tell you how we did it.

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The base of the sign was made out of cardboard. We took a large Target box and cut it into one big sheet. In order to have a cleaner sign, take whatever side the label is printed on and draw out the shape of the sign out in pencil. With a box knife, cut out the sign and plug in a hot glue gun. From another box, cut out four-inch strips of cardboard. Glue on these cardboard braces onto the bendable parts.

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In a well-ventilated area, spread on half a pint of fast drying spackle all over the clean side of the cardboard. This will give it texture and smooth out the cardboard. This might take a couple hours to dry. Afterwards, paint it with gray spray paint. Later on, we added more detail with an airbrush around the edges.

For the letters, we used a roll of craft foam, acrylic paint, and the hot glue gun. Before starting this, we created a template by patterning out the letters onto cardstock. Next, we transferred them onto craft foam and cut them out. Since the font is layered, we made two versions of each letter. One of the versions must be larger than the other, as the smaller one needs to be glued on top.

The acrylic paint will be absorbed into the foam if you don’t prime them. In order to prevent this, paint two layers of glue before painting. Let this dry overnight. Then, paint on three coats of red and yellow paint onto the foam.

Once everything is dried, glue on the letters onto the cardboard. Our sign was light enough that I was able to hang it on the outside gutters. I was able to do that by securing it with command hooks.

jurassic_park_trex_banner

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Also, I recreated the “When The Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth” banner from the movie. Just like with the sign, we first made a template for the letters before starting. Because this is so long, we had to use a roll of brown craft paper in order to get the right length. Finally, we traced on the letter and filled the outline in with black paint.

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The final thing I made for the party was a pinata. Basically, I followed the instructions from Studio DIY’s post on a DIY Hairspray Piñata. I changed it up a bit at the top to more resemble the Barbasol can from the show.

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The night was a blast, and I got to spend it with my closest friends. Who knows, maybe before the end of the summer I’ll throw another party.