"Ace" This School Year!

Fall means two things in my school:  football and LOTS of homework.
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It seems like teachers start piling on the projects, tests, pop quizzes, etc., starting around the beginning of fall.  Not sure why, but they do.  Add that in to the stress of holidays, standardized tests, and (OMG) mid-terms looming on the horizon, and you've got a big pile of stress, stress, and more stress sitting on your chest.
Although I am only a lowly freshman, I've learned a thing or two that could be useful to people of all ages (kindergarten isn't too early to start!).  These have been especially useful during that four-month-frenzy that kicks off right about...now!

1.  Post-It Notes = Life
I'm totally serious on this one.  If you guys haven't been introduced, you should try to do so ASAP. These little guys help you do a number of things, but I've been using them as reminders since I figured out that it was absolutely impossible to try and remember every single thing that I was going to have to do on a school day.  The night before your next school day, write down every single thing you'll need to do at school on one of these sticky notes.  That might include makeup work you'll have to get, information you need from a teacher, notes you'll need to copy, fees you'll need to pay, or really anything important going on.  If it's the night before a big event at school, also write down important times and places that you'll need to know (especially if you're participating in said event).
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After that, stick it somewhere you KNOW you'll see it the next morning.  I stick mine on my bedroom mirror.  When you wake up, it'll be a nice crash course on everything that's going on that day, and you'll be less likely to forget something.  I actually put mine in my purse so I can glance at it throughout the day to see if anything's slipped my mind.  Plus, it's nice having a hard copy instead of trying to cram every little piece of information in an already-packed brain.

2.  Study EVERY Night
Yes, it's terrible, but when you get to high school, studying every night becomes a necessity.  The days of "word banks" and "multiple choice" (or as one teacher used to say, "multiple guess") are slowly diminishing.
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It's extremely difficult to only study the night before and be able to ace a test where everything is fill in the blank.  Also, more tests are thrown at you.  Look out for the day when you have three tests in a row.  Even the class where there's a quiz every other day! To make a long story short, if you start studying your notes for about five minutes every night of the week, you'll not only make a better grade on the test, but you'll also prevent a lot of undue cramming and stressing.

3.  Quizlet Is Your Best Friend
Again, if you guys haven't been introduced, please do so (preferably at the same time you're introduced to Post-It Notes)!  Quizlet is probably the best app ever, because it's like having a portable set of infinitely many flash cards on infinitely many subjects.  And the best part is that you can create your own sets, too.
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There are tons of different options for studying the vocabulary.  Would you rather match the definition to the word?  Or just have the definition? Fill in the blank?  You name it, Quizlet's got it! Plus, if you don't have a strict phone policy at school, you can study pretty much whenever you want (as long as your teacher's nice).  Talk about getting in extra study time!

4.  Prioritize (aka NO PROCRASTINATING)
This one's probably a no-brainer.  DO NOT wait until the last minute to do ANYTHING!  No matter how tempting it is, don't do it!  Once the school year starts getting busier, and you start getting more involved, you're going to need to keep a schedule of everything or else you will hurt yourself by trying to wrap your head around every little thing you're going to have to accomplish (sooner or later, it's going to happen).  Solution:  planner!
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I cannot tell you how much I use mine.  I'm not really into color-coding (too much work), but I try to darken or circle the things that are really important.  The way you use yours could be completely different from the way another person uses theirs.  Just make sure you use it!

5.  R-E-A-D
About ten people just groaned after reading that.  Some people just hate reading.  I'm a bookworm, so this step's pretty easy for me.  Trust me, if you read something that you WANT to read, it will a) improve your mood, b) unfrazzle your brain, and c) improve your vocabulary and/or reading skills. Sometimes we just need a break from school, and reading tends to help a lot of people unwind (if you like reading on the go, try getting the app Wattpad).  If reading really isn't your thing, just try doing something you find relaxing that still stimulates your mind.  Look at music, watch videos, write about something, read a blog (just an idea)...
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I hope this post helps you school kids who are moving into the fall frenzy of homework, projects, and (really?!) yet another test!


Post Pageant

Hear that?  That's the sound of exhausted pageant girls everywhere.
We all stayed up until about ten last Sunday night to watch Miss America, the most coveted title in the nation.  I was especially rooting for Miss Alabama, Caitlin Brunell. I'm happy to say that she placed in the top ten! WOO HOO!
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The new Miss America is another New Yorker, Kira Kazantsev (follow her @missamericaorg).
Many people think that her talent was a little, er, "less challenging" than others.
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While I will admit that banging a cup and singing "Happy" by Pharell is much less of a standard pageant talent than ballet en pointe, playing the piano, or opera, her talent was more entertaining.  Most people out there who aren't familiar with pageantry are more likely to relate to someone singing a popular song rather than someone singing an aria in a foreign language.  The judges just picked their favorite contestant, which means she rocked her interview and made a lasting first impression.
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I think Kira's going to do a fantastic job as the new Miss America, and I'm looking forward to watching how she takes the pageant's platform to the next level.

Whew again.
That's just the sound of me trying to unwind from my own pageant experience.  For those of you who don't know, I'm currently holding a national title, and so I'm trying to get in a few more appearances before I have to give it up in November.
Yesterday was the North Alabama State Pageant, and it was a blast!
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I had so much fun being with all the contestants, and I can't wait until Nationals in November!


Oldies but Goodies

I'll be completely honest:  it's been a hectic week.  Homecoming sort of takes the life out of you!
And when I feel as though I can't move, my favorite thing to do (besides getting a Sonic slush with Nerds) is to watch some of my favorite classics from the 40's and 50's.
I know, I know, why watch that when you could watch Netflix?
Although it's hard to believe, these movies are classics for a reason.  Many people today still love and remember them from their time.  I prefer them to most movies of today, mainly because of the difference between actors then and actors now.  It's a BIG difference.
So, if you ever get in the mood, here are some of my favorite "oldies but goodies!"

1.  "Gone With the Wind"
Gone With the Wind
Even though it takes place in the South, you don't have to be southern to love this movie.  Its plot is interesting, the Scarlett-Rhett drama is great, and the costumes, OH the costumes! The characters are great, even though Scarlett is a (huge) diva.  Oh, and Mammie is the best character ever!

2.  "A Star is Born"

Have I ever told you how much I love Judy Garland?  She's absolutely BRILLIANT in this movie. Warning:  it's a bit of a tear jerker.

3.  "Roman Holiday"
Films with fashion influence - 1953 Roman Holiday poster
Sometimes I wonder if Audrey was secretly a princess, because she's wonderful as one in this classic!  If you've ever wondered what princesses do on their days off, this is the movie for you!

4.  "The Ten Commandments"

I have the opinion that this is one of the greatest movies of all time.  The cast is PERFECT, not to mention that the story is one that has been told since the earliest reaches of time.

5.  "Sabrina"

I'm not usually the biggest fan of love triangles, but this is one I love.  Now all I need to do is book a plane to Paris... and I must make sure it's raining when I arrive... but no umbrella... and I must bring just the right person with me...

6.  "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Yes, it's based off of that book (which isn't half bad), but it is still a movie worth watching.  Watch a small southern town turn into a place of prejudice, hypocrisy, racism, mystery, and hidden goodness when a black man is charged with raping a white woman, and Atticus Finch is appointed to defend him.

7.  "High Society"

Princess Grace (with Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra, just to name a few...) stars in this hilarious movie about the ordeals that those of the "High" society must go through.  And you thought love triangles were bad?  This is more like a love... quadrilateral?

8.  "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

I know, I know, it's become so cliche', but this movie is one that I think every girl needs to watch.  It's funny, and classic, and also extremely relatable.  Plus, you don't want to get the mean reds from not watching it, right?

9.  "Casablanca"

I just recently watched this for the first time, and extremely enjoyed it.  It really takes you back to the World War II days.  Casablanca is like an entirely separate world, with its own stories and own types of unique people.

10.  "The King and I"

The 25 best movie musicals of all time - 'The King and I'
None of the other movies listed are "musicals" per say, but I HAD to put this on the list! Literally my favorite movie/ musical/ whatever you want to call it, ever!  It is the story of Anna Leonowens, an English woman who serves as school teacher to the royal children of the Siamese court.  She and the King aren't exactly cooperative with each other, but after a while an interesting sort of friendship begins to form between them. The end makes me cry every. single. time.

So, if you ever have any spare time on your hands, check some of these out (especially number ten)!
Do you have any "oldies but goodies" that you love watching?  I'd love to hear about them;  I'm always on the hunt for more movies to watch!

Hope you enjoyed, and I really hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


Best Dressed For Homecoming Week

Hey, everyone! If you live anywhere remotely close to the South, you know it's football season.  That also means it's Homecoming Season!
Most high schools have an entire week of dressing up before the Homecoming game. Not all high schools have the same types of themes, but if yours does, I hope I can give you some ideas!
*Disclaimer:  I am not the most "outgoing" person, so my outfits aren't exactly wild and crazy.  In fact, I can usually pass for wearing normal clothes on dress-up days at school. Here's an example: last week's theme day was "Greek Day" and while everyone else was dressed in togas made from bed sheets, I came to school wearing leggings, Chacos, and a t-shirt that said "Sparta" on it.  In my opinion, that still counts, although some would disagree.  For those of you who are outgoing enough to go all out on theme days, I applaud you.  For those of you like me, well, I understand your pain.
I don't want to look like an idiot if I'm the only one dressed up, but I don't want to be the only person NOT dressed up, either!

1.  Dress up like your favorite movie/ TV character day
Honestly, this one stumped me, because most of my favorite movies are oldies and I'm pretty sure I couldn't pull off Audrey's dress from "Breakfast at Tiffany's."  I found a nice solution that most teens of today would understand, and it's SUPER easy!  Anyone familiar with this scene?
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Yes, the infamous "On Wednesdays we wear pink" scene.  This leads me to my solution: dress up like Cady on Wednesday!  I say Cady because her outfit is definitely the simplest, but if you're down for dressing like Regina, go for it!
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You can barely tell the difference, right?  All you need is a pink t-shirt, jeans, and some casual slip-ons, and you're good to go!  I would also get some other people to do this sort of thing with you to make the theme even better.

2.  Rock Star Day
I'm not exactly a rocker chick.  I will not be doing Kiss makeup, spike collars, or shredded shirts, but I think my alternative could pass for semi-rocker, right?
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For this look, I'd try and find the most rocker-ish t-shirt you have (or just a plain black shirt always works), jeans, and some cool shoes (I went with these Converse).  Plus, this is the one day you can fish out all that jewelry you thought was cool in third grade (you know you want this gummy bear bracelet)!

3.  Destination Day
My school gave us a few different options for this day like African safari, 'Merican road trip, etc.
The one that really caught my eye was "Trip to the Tropics."  If you didn't know, Hawaii is my forever home (even though I've only been there once), and so I sort of jumped at the chance to bring out all the cool souvenir stuff we got last summer.
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Honestly, the other reason I wanted to do this sort of look was because I've been dying to have an excuse to wear my Lilly Pulitzer sweater (similar).  Have fun with this look! You could even go get a lei and a grass skirt!  If you want to do something a little less literal, wear a bright or tropical top, blue or white jeans (shorts if they're allowed), and some simple sandals (I think Jack Rogers would look nice), and voila'!  You're an instant Hawaiian (sort of)!

I hope this gave you a few ideas for your own theme/ dress-up days (at least you'll get an A+ for effort)!  Comment what you're wearing for Homecoming Season!

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Fall Fashion is Back!

Aren't you excited?!
Well, I'd be more excited, except for the fact that here in Alabama it's still 90 degrees outside and anyone who wears a sweater is asking for a heat stroke.  Still, I'm praying for it to get cooler!
Here are some of my favorite fall fashion items that I'm wishing I could wear:

1.  Sweaters

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I mean, who doesn't love a good sweater? They can be worn with practically anything!
Anchor Sweater (similar)
Elbow Patch Sweater

2.  Scarves

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Another great staple for fall.  Last year I didn't wear them much, but this year I'm definitely going to be breaking them in.  I have a bit of a penchant for infinity scarves...
Tissue Scarf
Waffle Infinity Scarf

3.  Riding Boots

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I could probably write a three-page essay about riding boots, if you asked me to, because I love them so much!  I've been DYING to wear those things!  Every girl's dream is to have Tory Burch riding boots, and it was mine too, until I saw the price...  Never fear, there are some cute (and MUCH cheaper) alternatives!
Tory Burch Boots
Charles David Boots (cheaper alternative)

What are you looking forward to wearing this fall?

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It's Always About The First Impression

"With me, it's always about first impressions."-- Billy Zane

Mr. Zane and I have a lot in common, it seems.  

First impressions are a big deal to me.  First impressions can mean a terrible job, or a wonderful career, or a less-than-stellar co-worker, or even that favorite Lilly Pulitzer print of mine.  They can mean a lot of different things.  

I'm hoping your first impression of me won't be terrible.  If you couldn't tell, I haven't really done this before (typical newbie blogger).  So in the typical "fresh off the boat" fashion, I'm going to turn this post into a six paragraph "About Me" essay. 
I'm Tori, and I'm 14 years old.  I just started my freshman year of high school (I'm a newbie in everything, it seems) and it turned out A LOT better than I expected.  
I live in a small town in Alabama with my parents and my two four-legged brothers, Toby and Kasey.  Kasey is a toy poodle with some serious sass in his old age, and Toby is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi (I can feel you searching Google Images) who acts like a perpetual two-year-old little boy.  My family is the center of my life.
The other biggie in my life would definitely be school.  I don't want you to get the impression that I don't care about school.  That's the opposite of reality.  My first three years of school, I was pretty carefree. Then came third grade, and along with it came my perfectionism problem, and I've been the same way ever since.  An A- is a B, and you don't even want to know what a B is equivalent to.  It can get rather annoying, but I'll try not to kill all of you with my rants about that project that I got a 99 (a.k.a. the most annoying grade known to man) on! 
My biggest goal in life would probably be to get into vet school (Auburn and Florida are my top two at the moment), besides being Miss America.  I'm a pageant girl, I'll admit it, but not Toddlers'n'Tiaras (a.k.a. the worst show known to man).  When 2015 comes, I'll be on my way to competing in Miss Alabama's Outstanding Teen (hopefully)!
I'm a self-proclaimed prep, and I'm in love with Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade, Vineyard Vines, Fraternity Collection, Southern Shirt Company, Southern Proper, etc....
I'd say that I'm very classic, and I suppose I love some of that good 'ol southern charm (in moderation, dear). 
I'm also convinced that I should've been born sometime in the 30's - 50's, or in the Victorian Era.  I mean, this new technology we've gotten is cool, but how could you pass up living during the era of Audrey Hepburn, Old Hollywood, black and white classics, and THE little black dress, or the era where the British Empire was at its peak and gentleman actually existed... I forgot to mention I'm a history buff (shhhhhhhhh).
Other than that, I'd just say I love singing (Soprano 1, at your most high service) and musicals are my obsession. 
That might've been a *tad* more than six paragraphs, but I tend to write A LOT. 
I hope this first impression of me has been better than you were expecting. 
My other goal is to try and help others with anything. So if you have a question or a comment, don't hesitate.  I'm going to enjoy "Getting To Know You" (insert one of my favorite songs from my favorite musical of all time)!